London’s Air Ambulance is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an appeal for a new helicopter.

The service has treated more than 30,000 critically ill patients within the M25 - but it could tend to an extra 400 per year with a second aircraft.

The air ambulance was established in 1989 after it was claimed victims of major trauma were dying unnecessarily.

Last year, it treated 1,819 patients across London - over a third were related to road traffic collisions, a quarter were falls from height and 23 per cent were stabbings.

The helicopter is used during daylight hours and rapid response cars are used at night.

The service has the world's highest survival rate for performing open chest surgery at the roadside, and a senior doctor is on board the aircraft as well as paramedics at all times.

Gareth Davies, medical director and chairman of trustees, who has led the service for 20 of its 25 years, said: “There are people who have survived serious injury in London who would not have done in other countries.

“It is down to the belief and passion from everyone who comes into contact with the service - employees, volunteers and supporters - that enables us to help save lives and London should be very proud of this.”

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