The region’s life-saving air ambulance, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, currently operates 365 days a year between the hours of 7am and 7pm, in addition to two or three times per week where the crew are on standby to fly throughout the 24 hour period.
By the end of this year, the charity hopes to become an operational 24-hour service seven days a week, where the medical crew will be available to help about 438 additional patients overnight each year.
During this transitional period, the local Air Ambulance’s critical care team are currently on call to provide 24-hour care at least three days per week.
Next month, the operational days for a 24-hour service will increase to four days per week.
Captain Tim Taylor, pilot at the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, is regularly on call to fly the Ambucopter during the nights.
He said: “Emergencies can happen anytime, day or night, and being able to operate 24 hours a day means that we can respond to many more incidents, ensuring the people of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire receive the help they need as quickly as possible.
“We have worked tirelessly over the last few months to undertake and learn the processes involved by using night vision goggles and other illumination systems that the aircraft is now fitted with.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to know that once we are flying 24/7, we will be one of only three air ambulance charities in the UK operating a helicopter 24 hours a day.”
Karen Jobling, CEO at the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, added: “Our patients are the heart of everything we do here, so if we are able to help over 400 more people who are suffering from the most serious illnesses and traumatic injuries, then this proves to be an incredible development for our charity.
“Vitally, the charity will need to raise even more funds, as the cost to provide a 24-hour HEMS service will increase from £2.5 million per year to around £4 million.
“We can only make this remarkable step forward with the help of our local communities, and we cannot thank them enough for their incredible support.”
The charity has recently launched an appeal for silver-themed donations to help raise the vital funds needed.
The ‘Donate your Silver’ initiative asks members of the public to donate silver items – from coins and jewellery to clothing and bric-a-brac.
The charity hopes that this simple but fun way of raising funds will help to give their efforts a boost, as it prepares to launch the 24/7 service by the end of 2019.
l To support the Donate your Silver campaign, request a supporter pack by emailing [email protected]
Donations can also be left at Ambucopter charity shops across Lincolnshire. To find your nearest shop or for more information, visit www.ambucopter.org.uk