The Golden Hour
The Golden Hour refers to the hour immediately following a serious injury. This period is critical in determining not only survival but quality of life following recovery.
Even in an urban environment like London, the average trauma patient will spend most of this golden hour outside the hospital. We provide treatments to correct lack of oxygen, reinflate collapsed lungs and prevent serious blood loss as soon as we reach the patient’s side. Delays in critical interventions before arrival at hospital will worsen outcomes.
We believe that patients deserve world-class advanced trauma care immediately after injury, both inside and outside the hospital.
We take the hospital to the patient
We combine the medical knowledge and practical expertise of a senior trauma doctor with the medical, logistical and street-wise skills of an advanced paramedic to form an advanced trauma team.
We blend our civilian medical procedures with aspects of aviation and military practice to deliver intensive trauma care at the scene. Our doctor led teams are trained to make complex medical decisions and perform surgical procedures when the patient needs them - there and then.
"Open chest surgery in the dark on the tube or a balcony in a housing estate with a crowd of bystanders is challenging no matter how much experience you have"
Dr Julian Thompson
How we work
Finding our patientsWe treat an average of five seriously injured people in London every day. Our highly trained paramedics are constantly monitoring and interrogating the 4,500 daily ‘999’ calls. We are actively looking for seriously injured people who need our help.
"There aren’t enough words to thank London’s Air Ambulance for how they helped me.
Their dedication and expertise is humbling. Until this happened to me I wouldn't have thought how complex and vital this charity's work really is."
Treated after being hit by a lorry when cycling
Time is critical when someone has been hit by a train, knocked over by a car or fallen out of a window. At the scene of the incident our teams perform life-saving procedures, which might usually be carried out in an Emergency department or operating theatre.
Our team includes a senior doctor and specially trained paramedic who are available 24/7. Each mission involves detailed examination of the scene, the patient and critical decision-making about which interventions are appropriate. We aim to spend the minimum amount of time at the scene but to provide the best medical care and perform all necessary treatments as soon as possible.
The team at London’s Air Ambulance is constantly striving to deliver world-class care to our patients. We believe that we can save more lives by delivering exceptional care and by bringing new concepts and treatments to the pre-hospital arena.
We work closely with other industries and high-performing trauma systems to identify potential areas for development and research.
We are constantly evaluating new equipment and procedures, which could benefit patients in the pre-hospital environment.
London’s Air Ambulance teams were the first in the world to deliver pre-hospital open chest surgery successfully.
London’s Air Ambulance was the first air ambulance in the UK to routinely carry blood for pre-hospital transfusion.
London's Air Ambulance has performed the world’s first roadside balloon surgery to control internal bleeding. Use of pre-hospital Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA), a technique used first in the UK at The Royal London Hospital, to control haemorrhage in trauma patients, is a ground breaking move by London’s Air Ambulance. More
London’s Air Ambulance innovations in trauma care, medical systems and training have been emulated worldwide.
Our standards of care are subject to review both internally and externally on a regular basis. Monthly clinical governance days allow open forums for discussion, education, audit and case review.
- Traumatic cardiac arrest survival rate of 7.5%, compared to published international rates of 0-3%.
- Introduction of open heart surgery to pre-hospital care with 17.8% long-term survival rate, compared to predicted 0% survival in intervention group.
- Emergency anaesthesia success rate of 99.2% in over 7000 patients with no airway-related death.
We have performed the world’s first roadside balloon surgery to control severe pelvic haemorrhage, an injury most commonly associated with cycling incidents and falls from height. Pre-hospital Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA), a technique used first in the UK at The Royal London Hospital, is a ground breaking move by London’s Air Ambulance.
“We believe the use of REBOA can lead to a reduction in the number of patients who quite simply bleed to death before they have the chance to get to hospital,” says Dr Gareth Davies. More
We are currently working on introducing new procedures to pre-hospital environment - to save even more lives.