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As the NHS deservedly celebrates its landmark 70 birthday, the local air ambulance has also reached a momentous milestone after it surpassed a total of 35,000 missions in the fight to save lives.

Richard Clayton, Director of Operations at the Air Ambulance Service, said: “We are immensely proud to support and work alongside the National Health Service. The NHS is a fantastic organisation, full of extraordinary, highly skilled and dedicated people, which has been delivering the highest levels of healthcare to our nation for 70 years. That is a remarkable feat and is envied the world over.

“Every single day for the past 15 years The Air Ambulance Service has been working alongside the NHS to save lives whether through the provision of critical care, both day and night, with our local air ambulances and critical care cars or by keeping hope alive through our national Children’s Air Ambulance service.

“I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in reaching these milestones – 70 years for the NHS and 35,000 for our local air ambulances. We are funded entirely through donations and proud that we don’t cost the NHS a penny, and therefore a huge thank you must go to our supporters who have contributed so much to so many lives.”

The Air Ambulance Service is funded entirely by donations as it neither receives nor seeks government, NHS or national lottery funding. It also helps to reduce the burden on the NHS and public purse by providing its vital services free of charge.nnCommenting on the anniversary Justin Squires, Deputy Clinical Lead at The Air Ambulance Service, said: “As part of a wider team delivering critical care, I’m very proud to work with the NHS, the hospitals, the ambulance services and, of course, the people who have made saving lives their calling.

“The NHS is something very special and we all have a responsibility to look after and protect it as it has done for us over the past 70 years.

“We employ our world-leading clinicians directly, rather than through secondment from the NHS, and this is at the very heart of the charity as we believe in supporting and not burdening the NHS.”

Covering more than 3,850 miles, with an average response time of just 13 minutes, figures show that in 2017 alone the charity carried out 3,547 missions, of which 2,026 were attended by the DLRAA, and 1,521 by the WNAA.  Out of all completed missions last year, 39% were due to road traffic collisions, 25% to medical emergencies and 9% to falls, while 5% were sports related, 5% due to industrial incidents, and 17% to other accidents.