Coronavirus Operational Statement

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) is delighted to announce that, effective from tomorrow (Saturday 25th April 2020) and in partnership with Yorkshire Ambulance NHS Trust, one of their Air Ambulance helicopters will return to operational duty.

The news follows an announcement at the beginning of April when their Doctors and Paramedics were redeployed back to the frontline to support the fight against Coronavirus.

Today’s announcement comes as the NHS in the region has confirmed that patients will not be sent to the new Nightingale facility in Harrogate, which was launched earlier this week, for the time being as existing hospitals continue to manage the surge in Coronavirus cases within the current intensive care capacity, meaning the YAA crew can return to their usual duties.

Peter Sunderland, Chairman of the YAA, commented: “Obviously we are delighted to be able to start operating one of our helicopters again and have our crew available to respond to emergency 999 calls.  The team has worked at very short notice to make the necessary preparations to recommence operations from tomorrow, and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication in ensuring we’re ready to resume our vital work.”

For now, the YAA will be operating one of their two helicopters from their Nostell Airbase near Wakefield, whilst the second helicopter undergoes its scheduled mandatory annual service.  There has also been a recent downturn in life-threatening 999 calls whilst people are isolating at home, resulting in slightly fewer call-outs.

Peter added: “It is no secret that the Charity industry has suffered terribly since the Coronavirus situation gripped the UK, and we have not been immune to that.  So far, we have seen a deficit of around £420,000 for events cancelled between now and the end of summer.  The team continues to work extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure we are ready to get straight back to our fundraising activities once things are safe and start to get back to some normality, and we’re also taking the opportunity to explore and plan some new projects for the future.  In the meantime we have introduced more online activities and engagement for our supporters by publishing a downloadable activity pack and have even launched a helicopter cookie cutter to get our supporters baking and sharing their results with us!

We have been truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and good wishes for our crews during this unprecedented crisis situation and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has taken time to contact us recently.  We also understand that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone, but if anyone wishes to make a small donation to support us, it would be very gratefully received and can be done safely and securely via our website:”

Nick Smith, Executive Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to our partners at YAA for their understanding in recent weeks and their support for the recall of our paramedics to core duties on the ground.  This has allowed us to build our resilience and make all the necessary preparations for the newly launched Nightingale Hospital should we be required to convey patients to this facility.”