Anyone in the air ambulance field with any knowledge of this?
I've never heard of this organisation but a charity I'm involved with has received a request for funds. The letter points to quite an imposing website (oops! can't post links) which makes it clear it's an aspiration rather than up and running - with the aim of using a S76 to transport critically ill children between UK hospitals. It claims some corporate partners, but a quick search on the websites of two of them, Daily Express and a drug company, gives no results.
It may well be kosher, and obviously I will have to authenticate their credentials, but I am nevertheless a little uncertain about the viability of the concept. I wondered if anyone here has any info on this.
Thanks for that. I've been searching around but hadn't found those links.
It's interesting that my own initial doubts about the feasibility/viability of such a service are shared. I'm waiting for the offices of the Association of Air Ambulances (which I assume is genuinely the umbrella body}to open so that I can ascertain their views.
This matter of the Children's AA has been brewing and commented on over the last couple of months. Stories have appeared in local [Plymouth] newspapers and PAN, as well as taking the interest of the local West Country air ambulances, AAA and BBC [Plymouth]. The reason is that the centre of fundraising is the Torbay home/HQ of the fundraisers.
This all started up again in October after someone in this corner of the UK [ie the South East] complained to me about hard selling of the fundraising lottery... using the heart strings method. Was this a 'real' charity, that sort of thing. The answer is yes but ....
Where most of the industry stand is obvious from those postings from Devon and Wiltshire but nothing public has been issued by the AAA.
As in tthe case of the London HEMS squabble I suggest you look up The Children's Air Ambulance.... charity No. 1111780 at Charity Commission Homepage
One of the links leads to the names of Andrew and Nicola Howkins. A little bit of net research leads in some cases to what would appear to be involvement in all sorts of different operations, and it all looks a bit too intertwined for me - check out these dates...
There is indeed a significant need to longer distance interhospital paediatric ITU transfers in the UK, but unlike adults many need to be undertaken within 4 hours (75% of adults can be next day and the remaining 25% are a specific group of pathology). This produces significant issues with night operations and access at each end.
Nevertheless, paediatric transfers do indeed still make up a significant proportion of all inter ITU transfers.
They need specific medical crew (different from adult ITU crew and certainly not for paramedics!) but in practice do not need any specific changes from an adult ITU ship in terms of the cabin - smaller children travel in incubators which attach to all standard heli stretchers.
We looked at a dedicated system several times but concluded that it was far better to provide dedicated secondary (inter ITU) aircraft that could be used for all ages. The current financial issues in the NHS and the funding problems faced by charities makes this even more pertinent today.
I anyone can raise money for inter ITU transfers, they would do far more for society to target all ages and the effective cost per patient would be significantly less.
smaller children travel in incubators which attach to all standard heli stretchers.
Is that in a dedicated ITU transfer helicopter?
I only ask, as the incubator I've seen used in an 'everyday' air ambulance certainly didn't attach to anything standard. In fact, it's fitment required a (albeit not too lenghty) re-role of the standard EMS fit, including the removal of the stretcher assembly.
Kent is the latest air ambulance operation to protest about the activities of the Children's Air Ambulance by posting a lengthy and detailed news release to the media [and anyone else interested] via their web site.
"People in the Kent area are being approached to join a lottery run by the Children’s Air Ambulance, which is being confused with their Counties own Air Ambulance.
"Air Ambulances run lotteries to raise valuable funds to support their life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Services. Kent Air Ambulance has its own lottery which has a top prize of £1,000 every week.
"The Children’s Air Ambulance is a registered charity that has been fundraising since it was first established in 2005. However despite fundraising for the last four years the charity still does not have an aircraft and it would seem that it will be some considerable time before they will have enough funding to secure one.
"John Tickner, Chief Executive of the Kent Air Ambulance said ‘We first heard of the Children’s Air Ambulance about three years ago...... etc etc...."
Looking at the overheads for a 365, 24/7 operation with 2 crew at all times you would need to fly something like 450-500 hours a year. That figure wouldn't take into account the cost of buying the aircraft or any interest on a mortgage.
I think the proposed operation isn't a viable option in a S76 as the running costs are too high.
If there are (as we are often warned) any REAL journalists browsing this forum perhaps they could follow up this story - otherwise if any members know a reputable hack please bring this to their attention. It seems that criminals are stealing money intended for sick and dying children. Is there a more contemptible crime ?
Air ambulances are about saving life, right? Surely the more we have the better. It would help if the CAA made it easier for the trusts to set up. For example, in the interests of saving life, a single engine helicopter would be a more viable option. (Yes I know the public transport at night rules require a twin, but in the interests of saving life?) Given that rotory air ambulances rarely fly at night anyway.
I have in the past been involved with 'Neonate Transports' ... in fact the first one I did was way back in 1976.... with a "common or garden variety" Bell 206. (albeit all done in the sunny climes of the Antipodes).
Things have changed ... the last Neonate Transport job I worked was some 5 years ago and unfortunately that organisation has since "gone under".
The problem with Neonate Transports is that the 'modern' aircraft requires very specific fit outs to do its task (Electrical 240v, O2 and Air)... this leads to all manner of scheduling problems as the aircraft then has to become "dedicated" to its task and cannot always be available for other simple paediatric transports.
Very often the crews may be given a 'heads up" call ... to get ready then you have to pick up the transport Neonate team and the 'cribs' etc ... you get to the dispatching maternity unit and then have to wait till the flight team have done their specific transport preparations (read baby stabilisation) ... then off we go to transport the 'Bub' to the big Neonate Unit ... very often this can use up the whole day (but usually at least a half day). This time for preparation often means that a task started at 0700 may not recover till 1900 that evening this means (in the UK winter months) IFR capability and therefore Twin Ops.
I can tell you because of the emotional aspects of saving newborns the political 'bitchin' is gruesome .... the costs are horrendous if you can justify them ..... and one machine trying to fly 500 hrs a year in the UK .... I don't think so!
Not that I'm aware of - this JT used to be the UEO of the Sussex police air unit before moving over to do an excellent job with the Kent Air Ambo. When last I saw him 2 years ago he was driving one of those pseudo-Bentley American things (Cadillac, I think).