An article by the Air Ambulance Association of the UK has highlighted the real cost of air ambulances, bringing into focus the essential part the public play in keeping them flying.
Air ambulances provide an essential service to rescue injured people from inaccessible locations and transport critically ill patients between hospitals. Also delivering organs for transplant, the total spend each year tops £30m, with most of this being spent on helicopter transport.
The need for such a huge investment is easy to understand.
To keep flying, air ambulances require in the region of 130 litres of fuel each mission, which in itself contributes significantly to the total cost of £1,230 per mission.
To purchase a fully equipped aircraft in the first instance also costs between £4m – £6m. Over the course of the year, the collective spend by charities throughout the UK is £15m.
To keep this money coming in, there are over 1500 events that are attended by air ambulance charities, reaching an estimated 2.5 million people through the year. The donations received at these events go a long way to reaching the £46m which is raised each year.
However, to raise these funds and organise the activities at the events cost air ambulance charities 14% of their total income. Whilst a significant figure, it compares favourably to most other charitable organisations.
These figures make for very interesting reading; even more so when scaled up across the continent. With demand for European air ambulances increasing, costs look set to continue to soar as high as the service provided.