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 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.
How we work
Finding our patientsWe treat an average of five critically 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.
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's 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. Clinical Governance Days taking place every other month allow open forums for discussion, education, audit and case review.
Our team 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