THE region's air ambulance service is looking to raise an extra £300,000 each year to ensure it can provide a 24/7 service.

Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) can only largely operate in the hours of daylight but clinicians want to reach hundreds more ill and injured people across the region.

While the helicopter cannot fly in darkness, GNAAS teamed up with the North East Ambulance Service in 2015 to provide a rapid response car service, staffed with a doctor and paramedic, on Friday and Saturday evenings. This was expanded last year to include Thursday and Sunday evenings.

The charity was now asking the public for help to raise the additional £310,000 through its Critical Care 24/7 Appeal to ensure it could provide medical assistance every night of the week.

Jamie Walsh, a paramedic with GNAAS, said: "Four nights is not enough. We want to be there for even more people. We want to be able to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week and for you to know that the time of day, or day of the week, does not determine the level of care you receive in a life-threatening situation."

The rapid response cars are quipped with the same kit found onboard the charity's aircrafts. The service responded to 524 call-outs by road in the last financial year, which included 98 road traffic incidents and 95 cardiac arrests.