Two days ago, London Air Ambulance moved into its new home, 17 storeys above Whitechapel Road. The helicopter-cum-ambulance has been based at the Royal London Hospital since 1989, operating from a pad on top of the main hospital site.
Now, a new perch is ready, much higher and much better equipped than its nearby predecessor. We took a look round on what turned out to be the coldest day of the winter so far. So bitter, in fact, that you could see the snow on London's surrounding hills from the 87-metre-high platform.
The helicopter, and special rapid-response car which assumes the burden during hours of darkness, attends an average of around five emergencies a day. The team are called for trauma incidents, including stabbings, shootings, road-traffic accidents and falls from height. An onboard doctor and paramedic are trained to perform life-saving operations, even open-heart surgery, at the roadside. When the patient is returned to Whitechapel, a new high-speed lift will whisk them down to the emergency unit at the base of the Royal London's new building — from pad to surgery in just two minutes.
London Air Ambulance is operated as a charity, and relies heavily on public donation. If you'd like to help this very worthy cause, follow the instructions here.
We'll be hearing more from the London Air Ambulance in a forthcoming episode of our podcast, Londonist Out Loud. Pictures and video from our previous visit, to the old pad, can be found here.