A study by the Air Ambulance Association of the UK (AAA) has revealed the enormity of the vital service provided by air ambulances and their crews throughout the country each year.
In England and Wales there are a total of 18 air ambulance charities, with a further service which operates in Scotland. Throughout these charities, there are a total of 32 helicopters which are either leased or owned out right.
Largely a voluntary service, air ambulances are the busiest emergency service of their kind which operate in the country, responding to nearly 20,000 call outs each year.
The highest number of these call outs are in response to road traffic collisions, which make up 40 percent of all missions. The next highest number of call outs comes from other medical emergencies, which account for 24 per cent of the total.
Not known to many though, is that medical air services are also used for transporting patients between hospitals and providing transplant transport services.
As well as the 60 pilots employed by the services, there are also many paramedics, nurses and health technicians which make up the medical aircrew, the training of whom is ongoing.
Another figure that is unknown to many members of the public is that 180 A&E departments are served by air ambulances, whilst also involved in their operation are a number of GPs and consultants.
An increasingly common sight in the UK, the number of call outs through the year are rising all the time. Relying on donations from members of the public and local business, it shows the positive effect a community working together can truly have.