26-Oct-2010 Source: Magpas
Following news enquiries today regarding the â€œprivatisationâ€ of the East Anglian Air Ambulance charity, Multi Award Winning charity Magpas, issues the following statement:
We are grateful that matters that have long concerned our board of trustees are now being brought into the public domain by the media. We hope that this will now open the way for a transparent and public debate on the future of pre hospital care and air ambulance services in the region.
Magpas has recently learned of plans by the Norwich based East Anglian Air Ambulance charity to displace its Helimedix teams of doctors and paramedics and engage a private company to provide clinical services. Magpas has been providing doctors free of charge on the Air Ambulance since 2007. We do not believe that the people of the East of England, who so generously donate to support their air ambulances, would approve of this proposed use of charity resources.
Magpas has also learned that the East Anglian Air Ambulance charity also plans to relocate the helicopter from RAF Wyton to Cambridge next February – a move which Magpas Helimedix says will put lives at risk to the north, especially in high population areas like Peterborough.
Currently Magpas has National Health funded doctors, Defence Medical Staff physicians and paramedics seconded from the NHS on board its various transport platforms which include the Cambridgeshire Police Helicopter, road vehicles and Anglia 2 â€“the charity funded air ambulance. The military personnel are in training with Magpas in advance of deployment to Afghanistan. As well as these funded posts, Magpas uses a cohort of nearly 30 specially trained expert consultants, registrars and paramedics who donate their time free of charge â€“ valued at over Â£ 2 million a year – to fly on the aircraft. During the last three months Magpas has provided staffing on 100% of core air ambulance shifts.
Chief Operating Officer for Magpas Mr Daryl Brown said. â€œWe have been desperately trying to persuade the East Anglian Air Ambulance charity to alter their plans for many weeks now but have reluctantly come to the conclusion that nothing we can do or say is going to change their minds. We will do everything in our power to protect the vital service that our wonderful medics provide.
It is understood that the East Anglian Air Ambulance charity have signed a contract with a private company that is not registered with the Care Quality Commission. The East Anglian Air Ambulance charity has over four million pounds in the bank and can well afford to do this.
Speaking again on behalf of the Magpas trustees Daryl Brown said â€œMagpas has a proud 40 year history of saving lives in the East of England and we plan to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As the only Care Quality Commission registered provider of pre hospital care in the East of England, Magpas â€“ Helimedix will adapt its service and utilise any transport platforms that we deem appropriate. What we cannot do is stand by and allow the East Anglian charity to displace our crucial Helimedix Teamsâ€
Today, Magpas Helimedix is launching an appeal, asking the people in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and beyond to support its lean and efficient service. It is also calling upon supporters of the East Anglian Air Ambulance Charity to register their concerns with both the charity and their local MP regarding this unnecessary and wasteful use of charity funds in a time of economic austerity.
[HeliHub.com editor note – East Anglian Air Ambulance later issued this statement in response]