East Anglian Air Ambulance responds to Magpas statement pt 1
28th October 2010
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The East Anglian Air Ambulance was dismayed to read the press statement issued by Magpas, which made many erroneous statements about the EAAA’s work and future direction. 


We have detailed below a more accurate view of our aims and strategy and are happy to provide any further information on request.

  • It has always been our stated goal to ensure that the air ambulance service we provide across Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire is of the highest possible standard.  As we work to achieve this, we’ve worked closely with stakeholders across the region including the East of England Ambulance Trust, our neighbouring air ambulance services in Essex and Hertfordshire and Magpas.
  • The single most important difference we can make to help us save more lives across the region is to provide doctors on board all flights made by our two aircraft, Anglia One and Anglia Two.  We have been talking about our plans to move to this model for over a year.  While we have the highest respect for Magpas doctors, this is something we have found to be unsustainable working with Magpas’ volunteer based organisation.
  • To help us achieve this goal, after a considered tender process in which Magpas was invited to participate but declined, we have opted to work with a company called EMSC, which has a substantial track record in the air ambulance sector.  It provides the highly experienced doctors serving aboard the Essex and Hertfordshire air ambulance, the London air ambulance and many others.  It is also fully endorsed by the East of England Ambulance Trust.
  • Working with EMSC ensures that we can commit to providing highly experienced specialist doctors on board both aircraft 365 days a year.  This is in-line with best practice recommendations for air ambulances documented in ‘Framework for a high performing Air Ambulance Service’ published in 2008.   We believe working with EMSC offers the potential to provide a fully regional service which operates to nationally recognised clinical standards and provides a model which offers the possibility for flexibility and collaboration across the region.  This will be a benefit to everyone in the current climate and – most importantly - it will raise the bar on the service we are currently offering and help us save more lives.
  • Contrary to its claims, working with Magpas is not ‘free’ for the EAAA.  While the organisation’s doctors are volunteers, we do have to bear other costs to work with it.  These include the £132,000 it costs to shuttle Anglia Two between its base at The Marshall Airport and Magpas’ operating base at RAF Wyton every morning and evening. We also bear the costs of having an aircraft and pilot available but having to stand down on days when no Magpas crew is available.  These costs amount to at least a further £100,000 per year.  While we will now be paying for doctors aboard our aircraft, we believe we can raise the necessary funds to do this and that it will enable us to deliver the most effective life-saving service possible.
  • Magpas refers to the fact that EMSC is not accredited by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  In fact the CQC has informed the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA), the trade body representing air ambulance charities, that it will not have the necessary framework in place to audit air ambulances for at least another year.  When it does, we will certainly apply for registration.  The Kent and Yorkshire Air Ambulance charities are currently working with the CQC to develop a suitable audit process for air ambulance organisations. As soon as the accreditation is available we will undertake it.
  • Magpas also claims that operating Anglia Two from The Marshall Airport in Cambridge will ‘put lives at risk in the north, especially in high population areas like Peterborough.’  No part of the region we cover will be adversely affected by moving the operations of the aircraft to The Marshall Airport.  We are working to enhance the service we offer, not weaken it and, by collaborating with other air ambulance services in the region, we believe we will, in fact, be able to offer a better level of access to the service for everyone living in the region.
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