A VITAL appeal has gone out from the air ambulance service covering York and North Yorkshire.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) said call-outs were at an all-time high last year and they are now appealing for the public to help raise the funds needed to keep them 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.

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York Press: Pilot JJ, Dr Mike Davison and paramedic Steve MilesPilot JJ, Dr Mike Davison and paramedic Steve Miles (Image: GNAAS)

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.

York Press: Dr Mike Davison in front of the rapid response vehicleDr Mike Davison in front of the rapid response vehicle (Image: GNAAS)

The charity, which currently needs to raise approximately £8.5 million a year, 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.”

York Press: Paramedic Gordon Ingram on a night shiftParamedic Gordon Ingram on a night shift (Image: GNAAS)

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 nighttime 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 said: “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 About GNAAS

GNAAS operates two helicopters 365 days a year and also operate a night-time service in the North East and Cumbria on rapid response vehicles.

The aircraft cover an area of more than 8,000 square miles and on board are specialist doctors and paramedics who effectively bring the hospital to the patient.

York Press: Paramedic Gordon Ingram on a night shiftParamedic Gordon Ingram on a night shift (Image: GNAAS)