Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is set to benefit from a £5 million fund from Libor fines which will support air ambulance charities across the UK. The charity is to receive £250,000 from the fund in addition to further savings from the relief of VAT paid by the charity.
The funding was confirmed yesterday (24 February) at a meeting between UK Chancellor George Osborne and the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA), whose charity will distribute the money among the 20 local air ambulance charities set to benefit.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “From enabling the fantastic Air Ambulance services to extend their flying hours, to helping build brand new specialist headquarters, this funding will play a vital role on helping to save hundreds of lives every year. It is absolutely right that we use funds from those who demonstrated the worst values to reward those who demonstrate the best, like our hardworking air ambulance crews.”
Today’s announcement follows extensive lobbying by the Association of Air Ambulances and is in addition to the Libor funds already announced for three air ambulance charities. It also follows the announcement of relief of VAT on air ambulance charities and aviation fuel, which was announced last year. Combined the changes will be worth over £15 million over the next 5 years. This excellent news will potentially equate to 800 more patients per year being saved.
Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the AAA said: “I was delighted to be able to thank the Chancellor personally for his support. In line with Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance’s vision of delivering clinical excellence, it is intended to use the grant to construct and equip a facility to support advanced clinical training, night operations planning and provide crew support for extended hours of operations. By doing so, we will be able to make full use of the capabilities of our new helicopter, due to enter service at the end of 2016.
“The relief of VAT will also help to reduce the significant rise in operating costs associated with a larger helicopter, extended flying hours and future clinical developments.”
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has attended over 10,500 incidents since its launch in March 2000, saving many lives and aiding recovery with outstanding immediate care and rapid delivery to the hospital best suited to meet the patient’s needs. The charity’s operational costs are over £2million pounds a year and the approximate cost per mission is £2,500.
More information about the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance can be found by visiting: www.dsairambulance.org.uk or by calling: 01823 669604.