Air ambulance needs ‘proper funding’ 7/7 inquest coroner says

THE East End’s air ambulance service got a major boost in its bid to secure cash to keep afloat when the coroner in the 7/7 inquest said it “deserved proper funding”.

Her comments came after Dr Gareth Davies told how 27 doctors and paramedics were deployed to Aldgate and the other bomb sites to help victims, during the inquest into the 2005 blasts earlier this week.

Summing up the air ambulance’s role, Lady Justice Hallett said: “I have no doubt that everybody who’s listened to the evidence throughout these proceedings would agree that you deserve proper funding and proper recognition.

“If I feel, at the end of having heard submissions there is something I can do about it, I shall.”

The charity still does not have secure funding six years on from the attacks but relies on corporate and individual donations, doctors volunteering their time and some support from the NHS.

On the day of the blasts, a large group of medics happened to be attending a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) meeting at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and were quickly deployed to the four bomb sites.

Mr Davies, who attended the Aldgate and King’s Cross blasts, told the inquest: “It’s constantly an uphill struggle to try to acquire the funding necessary to deliver the sort of service we aspire to.”

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He also described communication problems between the emergency services and transport networks on the day of the blast and the difficulties in prioritising patients’ needs.

The doctor said it was important to have someone in a specialist role overlooking the running of each service.

He explained that person or ‘Silver’ should be “making sure that everyone is doing the jobs that they’re supposed to do, encouraging them in the most onerous and difficult of circumstances to get things right.

“If that isn’t there, and that isn’t done well, then the chances of survivability are reduced because you won’t have the right treatment, you’ll have delays from leaving the scene.”

A total of 52 people were killed in the three Tube blasts and one bus blast in 2005.

The inquest continues.