Great North Air Ambulance Service issues public appeal for help

The Great North Air Ambulance helicopter crew (left to right) Pilot Phil Lambert, Laura Duffy, Terry Sharpe and Rachel Hawes: 24 February 2021 STUART WALKER Stuart Walker Photography 2021

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is appealing for the public to help raise the funds needed to keep operational.

The service responded to more than 2,100 incidents across the North East, North Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumbria, Scotland and the Isle of Man in 2023.

The charity provides air ambulance services mainly in hours of daylight, while on a night-time, a highly skilled paramedic and doctor operate on a rapid response vehicle in the North East and Cumbria most nights.

The car carries the same life-saving equipment as its airborne counterpart, meaning the team can still deliver blood, anaesthetic procedures, and other advanced treatments to critically ill or injured patients in our region.

The charity, which currently needs to raise approximately £8.5m a year, says it has been working hard to cover every night of the week so that no matter when someone is need, the team are able to respond.

In January, they celebrated a year of providing critical care 24/7 in the North East. They also expanded their all-night rapid response vehicle service in Cumbria to four nights a week, meaning they are even closer to providing 24/7 cover across the whole of our region.

David Stockton, chief executive at GNAAS, said: “Unfortunately, these essential expansions mean that we need to raise even more funds than before to keep our live-saving service running. The frightening truth is that for 2024 we are predicting to run at a deficit. This means we will have to go into our limited reserves just to keep the charity flying this year.

“The life of a charity-funded service can be a tumultuous one, but it usually brings about the most amazing support from the general public.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the unwavering enthusiasm of our supporters who dream up amazing challenges to raise funds, or our past patients, who share their experiences so that we can spread our life-saving message, or our loyal volunteers who have donated more than 45,000 minutes of their time in 2023, helping to raise much-needed income and awareness.”

In the aftermath of the pandemic, the charity has regained some stability in fundraising, however they are now facing new challenges, including the cost-of-living crisis.

In response they have launched an appeal asking the public to support them any way they can so that their team can continue providing their life-saving service and eventually operate 24/7 across the region.

Last year, GNAAS’ critical care teams based in the North East and Cumbria, responded to an additional 745 night time incidents on their rapid response cars. They provided essential medical expertise and care that would have otherwise been unavailable. This shows how crucial it is to make this service available 24/7 across our region.

Mr Stockton added: “Looking ahead, we’re preparing ourselves for what could be a tough year. The worst possible scenario is that we can’t afford to be there for those that need us. Your support is more vital than ever: whether it’s a donation, a voluntary hand or just spreading the word about our cause- every bit helps.

“Only with your continued generosity can we keep flying and saving lives across the region.”

To find out more about the appeal and how you can support the charity visit gna.as/fund247