View Full Version : The UK Childrens Air Ambulance - Info??

10th Dec 2009, 07:01
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.

10th Dec 2009, 07:13
I would personally be suspicious of a charity which hasn't been launched. Something like this would surely be officially announced in the press?

10th Dec 2009, 07:46
The Children's Air Ambulance charity was launched in 2007. Some of the established Air Ambulance charities don't seem too happy about it collecting in their areas:
Air ambulance boss hits out as charity relaunches | This is Exeter (http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/news/Air-ambulance-boss-hits-charity-relaunches/article-1576096-detail/article.html)

Announcements Wiltshire Air Ambulance (http://www.wiltshireairambulance.co.uk/announcements.htm)
(towards the bottom of the page)

10th Dec 2009, 07:57
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.

11th Dec 2009, 06:21
The chap organising this is not on PPRuNe but is happy to take phone calls and has asked me to publish his number which is 07795 838888.

11th Dec 2009, 07:30
If they want an S76 we still have one remaining...........but best they hurry Xmas is coming and we are expecting a rush!


11th Dec 2009, 08:03
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 (http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk)

11th Dec 2009, 08:41
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 (http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk)

Hmmm. That doesn't seem to paint a very pretty picture (so far...) :suspect:

11th Dec 2009, 09:51
Thanks for all the replies. I think I've got the picture.

12th Dec 2009, 00:14
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...

Their names also appear in these links:-

In year to Aug-06 they raise £46,865 and spend more... £47,246 - see Charities Commission page (http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ShowCharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1111780&SubsidiaryNumber=0)
A Sep-06 summer BBQ raises £2850 (http://www.kinetic-avionics.com/events.php)
In Jul-07 Mrs Howkins was "Operations Director – Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (http://www.southcentralambulance.nhs.uk/html/news/newsitem.php?county=Hampshire&it=84)" - and their accounts to Sep-07 (http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/registeredcharities/ScannedAccounts/Ends34%5C0001106234_ac_20070930_e_c.pdf) refer on page 4 to her resigning at the end of Oct-08 and that she "worked with a staff in Devon"
The Dorset & Somerset AA report for the year to March 2008 (http://www.dorsetandsomersetairambulance.org.uk/documents/Annual_Report_Mar09_TG.pdf) refers to Mrs Howkins as Director (but she's still at Hampshire & IOW for another 5 months...)
Press report of August 2009 (http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/4552888.Charity_cash_box_stolen_from_Martinstown_Post_Office/) and she's still at Dorset & Somerset AA
In Jun-09 Mr Howkins is listed as a contact for the All Ireland Air Ambulance (http://www.aiaa.ie/press_release/AIAA%20Press%20Release%202009-06-15.pdf)
In Aug-09 Mr Howkins is reportedly living in Devon and raising money for his Childrens AA charity (http://www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk/news/Bid-children-s-mercy-helicopter/article-1274308-detail/article.html)

and some other notes just on the charity

East Anglian Air Ambulance want to distance themselves too - see here (http://www.eastanglianairambulance.org.uk/community-events.asp)
In Nov-09 they are collecting door to door in Essex and giving the impression to the writer they are linked to Great Ormond Street Hospital - see this link is to a bikers group who regularly support Essex AA (http://www.essexbikers.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=19389) - but by the end of the thread even the bikers got cold feet
and here they are trying to recruit a Canvasser in Weston-super-Mare (http://www.myjobsearch.com/browse/0b122c7801.html) at £13K+ commission with the description ...."we require experienced door to door canvassers in your area, raising money for Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance ".... - I'm no lawyer but this may come under the rules of "passing off"

And how many hours do you have to fly an EMS S-76 for the cost of the whole operation to be £1700ph? (that figure from bottom of this article (http://www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk/news/Bid-children-s-mercy-helicopter/article-1274308-detail/article.html))

12th Dec 2009, 11:37
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.

12th Dec 2009, 19:52
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.

13th Dec 2009, 11:09
They are collecting today at a Tesco's in Essex. One of the guys is wearing a hi-viz jacket with "Bucks/Cambs/Oxon" air ambulance on it??

15th Dec 2009, 17:40
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...."

16th Dec 2009, 08:17

You asked about the £1700 per hour.

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.


16th Dec 2009, 08:39
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 ?

16th Dec 2009, 09:07
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.

16th Dec 2009, 10:56
Mmmmm ...

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!

It'd be nice ..... BUT ...... :(

16th Dec 2009, 12:25
"John Tickner, Chief Executive of the Kent Air Ambulance

Is this the same John Tickner of TAMS fame? What car is he driving these days?

16th Dec 2009, 13:08
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).

16th Dec 2009, 14:10
Ah. Different bloke, same taste in cars.

StAn gelo
16th Dec 2009, 18:10
Lets hope it's doesn't end up like http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8101691.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8101691.stm)
No sign of any Air Ambulance either.......

16th Dec 2009, 20:11
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.

Yawn. Are you still banging that drum, chopjock?

And exactly how many doctors, medics/nurses, pilots and incubators/stretchers do you propose fitting into an R44? :rolleyes:

16th Dec 2009, 20:36
...and, there's probably a reason why a twin is required by law, too. This is a tough fact to accept for many, but at least in the ambulance outfit where I work, the motto is "we don't risk 3 lives to save 1". Really, when it comes to saving lives, this is/should be (don't know how this is in the UK) a public task, and a certain operational standard should be required.

16th Dec 2009, 21:01
Yawn. Are you still banging that drum, chopjock?

And exactly how many doctors, medics/nurses, pilots and incubators/stretchers do you propose fitting into an R44? Ah, a bite!
R44? who said anything about an R44 in this thread.?
There's lots I do not understand, one thing is why does an air ambulance require two engines? If there is a choice between no air ambulance, a single engined one sooner, or wait forever for a twin, I suggest a single now would be better than none. (no I'm not suggesting an R44 either).
I don't know the figures, but I would hazard a guess that for the cost of say four twins, you could have five singles. If this is an accurate guess, then that's another ambulance out there saving lives for the same money.
As I understand it, rightly or wrongly, air ambulances operate VFR only? I also believe the rules of the air can be relaxed in the interests of saving life, so a single could fly in and out of hospitals, built up areas etc, legally.
Just my point of view, being as this is a forum an all.

16th Dec 2009, 21:06
Oh chopjock. Silly you. Do you really think that people are going to waste their energy yet again answering your silly questions? :rolleyes:

16th Dec 2009, 21:18
Mmmm ...

Chopjock ..... your view ...so a single could fly in and out of hospitals, built up areas etc, legally. .... is flawed.

The issue is one of doing the task SAFELY .... as well as legally!

And sometimes .. .. it is better to not to do a task if you can't do it properly.


16th Dec 2009, 21:41
An MD600N could do the job nicely. According to MD the 600N is very safe!
Or there's the EC130, Bell 407, Bell 210, A119 and so on. Think how many more ambulances we could have, if we did not limit to flying twins in VFR conditions.:)

16th Dec 2009, 21:52

Please don't waste your time trying to answer chopjock's questions.

Just have a quick look at this thread (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/397650-uk-police-helicopter-budget-cuts-3.html) to see the path that he will try to lead you down. :ugh:

16th Dec 2009, 22:22

I cannot answer your points in terms of the rules and regulations that AA's have to comply with in the UK as I'm not a professional pilot and there are far more suitable and qualified people than me to answer those points (if they choose to do so).

However, your point about we could have far more helicopters if they were single engined doesn't stack up (IMHO). All AA's in the UK are charities and with the exception of one county - and two groups of 3 counties - they are responsible for raising the cash to keep an aircraft flying. To give you an idea (and these numbers are from the 90's so well out of date), the difference between an AS350 and an AS355 was about 20% per hour. Taking this to a logical (albeit imperfect conclusion), an AA charity would need to raise 70% more per month to have two single engine helicopters. Given the current climate (and again forgetting rules and regs) this would be very tough.

The final point is that there simply isn't the demand at the moment throughout most of the UK for each county to have two aircraft. If you look at the amount of calls per week that each does then one is suitable. Take into account that they have to land in city centres if required then one twin helicopter per county is the only answer.

Anyway, just my opinion as a volunteer for one of them

16th Dec 2009, 23:02
spinwing Mmmm ...

Chopjock ..... your view ...so a single could fly in and out of hospitals, built up areas etc, legally. .... is flawed.
from the BHAB site:

2.4 Saving of Life There is only one blanket exemption from the Rules of the Air Regulations made under the ANO and this concerns flights for the purpose of saving life. The Rules provide that nothing in the rule relating to low flying shall prohibit any aircraft from flying in such a manner as is necessary for the purpose of saving life. Although this is probably not contentious, the onus of proof is placed upon the helicopter operator who may be required to justify his actions to the CAA. The increasing number of helicopters in support of conventional ambulance services is relevant in this context.
For the purpose of discussion, do you see my point?

If I'm barking up the wrong tree again, I'm sure someone will put me straight.?

16th Dec 2009, 23:22
2.4 Saving of Life There is only one blanket exemption from the Rules of the Air Regulations made under the ANO and this concerns flights for the purpose of saving life. The Rules provide that nothing in the rule relating to low flying shall prohibit any aircraft from flying in such a manner as is necessary for the purpose of saving life. Although this is probably not contentious, the onus of proof is placed upon the helicopter operator who may be required to justify his actions to the CAA. The increasing number of helicopters in support of conventional ambulance services is relevant in this context.

Low flying. Not the same as flying over, and landing in, congested areas :hmm:

There are a lot of people here who are trying to put you straight but hey, there's none so blind as those who will not see.



16th Dec 2009, 23:28
Also from the BHAB site:

Exemptions from the '1,000 foot Rule' could include the use of a landing site in a city centre, aerial photography and survey work as well as police and ambulance operations.

I was under the impression the 1000ft rule was relevent to built up areas? :) and included in the "low flying" rules section of the ANO

But you could be right, perhaps I just will not see yet.

206 jock
15th Mar 2010, 15:10
First 10 minutes of this are interesting (sadly only available for another few hours).

Mentions Paul Forster - isn't he 'something' in the helo world?

BBC - BBC One Programmes - Inside Out South West (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0071mt5)

Sliding Doors
15th Mar 2010, 16:51

IF it's the same Paul Forster then Amber Aviation is the 'helo world' connection you were thinking of.

A 42K feasability study:confused: Blimey:{

15th Mar 2010, 17:24

Having had the lightbulb moment that you're more than likely 'ChopperJockey' on another rotary forum. And not wishing to get in to another detailed discussion with you.....................

Very slight thread creep for which I apologise (and rather than continuing a done to death thread) - regarding your flawed Police ASU arguement the reason the Observor isn't viewed as crew is due to:

Definitions (Article 255 (1))
4.1 Passenger
A passenger is defined in the Order as a person other than a member of the crew. Crew means members of the flight crew, cabin attendants and persons authorised to supervise training and carry out tests. It will be appreciated that observers, cameramen and other persons carried to operate particular pieces of equipment on board an aircraft will, if they do not fall within the definition of crew, be passengers. In so far as payment has been made to enable them to be carried it will be a public transport flight.

The full text can be found here:

or in the ANO

From knowledge comes a greater understanding :cool:

15th Mar 2010, 18:11
We serve Childrens' Hospital here in Philadelphia USA (CHOP) and use a BK117B1 as it accomadates the isolette easier, together with 3 specialist crews. We seem quite busy moving to collect babies around the N.E area...

8th May 2010, 23:40
Two people were collecting ( and seemed to be doing quite well) for The Childrens Air Ambulance at our local Morrisons store today. It turns out that they had been there all week. Their promotional display material carries a large picture of of an MD902 with a colour scheme very reminiscent of the GOSH logo/colours.
No registration was visible on the pic, and when questioned, the male collector was unable to provide any firm information.He thought it might have been G-TCAA, but that does not appear in GINFO.
I have found one site which indicates it uses a Cabair S-76 based at Elstree but it is the only entry in the list which does not give an aircraft registration.
Does anyone know if this charity actually operates a helicopter, or have carried out any infant transfers as their collectors and promotional material claim?

I made the store management aware of some of the content of this thread, and was told that the charity was on the list of approved charities complied by the Morrisons head office, so the local management were unable to do anything.

9th May 2010, 05:51
THE CHILDREN'S AIR AMBULANCE: Registered Charity providing high speed transportation of children between hospitals, Air Ambulance, The Children's Air Ambulance, The Childrens Air Ambulance, TCAA, Children's Air Ambulance, Childrens Air Ambulance, cha (http://www.tcaa.org.uk/aircraft.htm)


9th May 2010, 06:50
Maybe the fundraisers would like to send the money direct to MoD since the SARForce already provides this service 24/7 around the UK. I have done more hospital transfers than I can shake a stick at and many of those were for sick children. The NHS just has to make a case to ARCCK that the medical condition of the patient requires helicopter transfer.

Apart from the 139s at Portland and Lee, all the SAR aircraft are large and can transport a full medical team with incubators, ventilators, monitors etc etc in relative comfort - the S-92 has its own oxygen system as well.

So why should anyone think there is a need for a dedicated Children's AA? A waste of time and money that could be used supporting normal AAs.

Oh and just for chopjock - I did one last year from Bude to Bristol at night in 50 gusting 60 kts - fancy that in an R44 or other light single?

9th May 2010, 09:12
Looking at the Flight Times page on the link that Coconutty posted, it must be a super-duper S76 they use/are getting.

London - Aberdeen ( approx 500 miles) in 105 minutes = around 286 mph
London - Edinburgh (approx 400 miles) in 85 minutes = around 282 mph
London - Dumfries ( approx 340 miles) in 70 minutes = around 291 mph
London - Kendal ( approx 260 miles ) sits right on their 60 minute range ring.

To be fair, their own page on the aircraft gives a cruising speed of 180 mph.

Crab, I mentioned your point about the current provision to one of the collectors, and in response, he implied that in the future, the military would not be in involved in SAR and that the new commercial organisation would not be equipped for the kind of transfers the TCAA were aiming to carry out.

I gave up at that point and went to find the store manager.

9th May 2010, 15:45
He has been fed a line then Cpt_Pugwash - the existing CHC contractors in Stornoway and Sumburgh spend a lot of time doing transfers to hospitals from remote islands and the like - SARH will bring the same S-92 aircraft to the whole country and, although they won't be military aircraft and only some will be flown by military crews, the capability will still be there ( and even enhanced by having a modern, faster aircraft with a ramp).

The current AAs are very limited where they can go for hospital transfers at night - they certainly don't land in Regent's Park like we do - that is the LS for Gt Ormond St, the leading children's hospital in UK I believe - so if TCAA can't go there by night, where else won't they be able to fly to?

Someone is being hoodwinked about the need for and capability of the proposed TCAA - maybe it is just a nice little earner for those organising the fundraising.

10th May 2010, 13:13
just so you know there is no S76 operated by Cabair at Elstree or anywhere else so they def not doing that part of the bunf

Sir Niall Dementia
10th May 2010, 14:07
Oh dear;

Isn't it about time that someone jumped on this "charity" for good. I know one of the "principals" and he is one of the most unprincipled people I have ever met. I believe that this will go no-where and people will just hand over money for no reason. If the person concerned wants to sue me for my comments, then please do. I will happily stand in court and describe what I know and why you should not be allowed near charity funds or other peoples' money in any way.

8th Dec 2010, 13:28
I do not know about the 'original' Children's Air Ambulance being jumped on and put out of business but I now hear that there is yet another with similar aims being formed.

The original in a 'Southern' thing but the new interloper is stirring in the north with different backers.

That is about as much as I have heard.

11th Jan 2011, 14:10
For up to date and accurate information on this Charity go to
www.thechildrensairambulance.co.uk (http://www.thechildrensairambulance.co.uk)

There have been substantial changes to this organisation in the last year.
A new Trustee board and a new senior management team has been in place since April/May 2010. None of the Trustees or staff have any interest or holdings in any aviation businesses or organisations.

The Children's Air Ambulance is a bona-fide registered Charity no 1111780, who submit returns to both the Charity Commission and Companies House.

The Charity's governance procedures, fundraising activities, lottery management and accounts have been examined by the Charity Commission and Gaming Commission and bar a couple of minor administrative recommendations, the Charity was given a clean bill of health.

The Charity has been actively fundraising in the anticipation that if sufficient funds have been raised, as are forecast, then it is likely we will see the launch of a national air ambulance for the inter-hospital transfer of critically ill children later in 2011.

No helicopter operator has yet been awarded a service contract, but the Charity will offer interested parties the opportunity to tender for such a contract at a time the Trustees are confident in the long-term robustness of the income streams and sufficient reserves have been accumulated.

The Charity is yet to determine a suitable operational base for a rotary aircraft which will enable it to provide substantial coverage to England, Wales and N.I.

The Charity are actively engaging with appropriate organisations from the aviation industry, the medical fraternity and the air ambulance sector to address deployment issues, develop a service that is fit-for-purpose and to co-ordinate activities and avoid any misunderstandings .

206 jock
11th Jan 2011, 16:31
BeachHutBoy. Great name by the way. Is that where you spend your time?

A few questions.

- how will you (sorry, the Children's Air Ambulance) be looking to work with the existing air ambulance community, are you perhaps seeking to join the AAA? Do you think they will welcome your new plans now?

- Will your fundraisers still wear other air ambulance operation's clothing (or 'passing off', as it's sometimes called)?

- will your fundraising materials still be using pictures of existing air ambulances without permission?

- will you be absolutely clear with all potential donors that your service does not actually exist and is therefore an 'aspiration' (or 'pipedream', as some might call it)

- I see that your EC135 will still be able to get from London to beyond Aberdeen in 160 mins. Is it a special one?

- How much is your new Chief executive taking as a salary each year?

- Would you like to share with us all how much funds have been raised so far and are contributing to the £2m you need for a year's operation, bearing in mind that you have been fundraising for 5 years?

- And can you give us a breakdown of the £2m a year? I know a charity that spends £1.2m keeping an air ambulance flying locally in one county, for 5 days/8 hours. The costs of going to 7 days/12 hours locally is almost exponentially greater, so 24/7 for £2m, nationally? Wow, you must be really, really good.

I'm sure there are plenty more, but that's a start.

11th Jan 2011, 17:03
BeachHutBoy - 206Jock has some very valid questions and I look forward to your answers to them. I hope you don't mind me adding a few more for you:-

- I see from the Charity Commission website here (http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/SHOWCHARITY/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1111780&SubsidiaryNumber=0) that you (sorry, the Children's Air Ambulance) managed to raise £56,542 and spend £52,232 in 2009. How do you plan to ramp up your fund-raising from the 2009 level to your stated need for £2M in these "times of austerity"?

- Your earlier publicity suggested you would be operating an S76. What made you change your mind to the EC135, and which CAA-approved operator will you be using for your planned service?

- I see the website mentions five trustees (http://www.childrensairambulance.co.uk/WhoWeAre.aspx) and the Charity Commission only know about three of them (http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/SHOWCHARITY/RegisterOfCharities/ContactAndTrustees.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1111780&SubsidiaryNumber=0&TID=3603841) - Are you telling the public the true situation via the website, or telling the Charity Commission the truth? Can't be both, of course.

- Does it cost £2M a year to run, or has your online donation subcontractor got it wrong when they say £1.5M (https://rsm2.rsmsecure.com/cpterminal/cpweb.php) ?


12th Jan 2011, 14:57
Another question BeachHut Boy.

But, pardon me if I'm being somewhat naive or ignorant, but when you say governance I'm assuming you mean Clinical Governance?

Why would you need to pay for clinical governance, for a service that currently doesn't actually operate?

12th Jan 2011, 16:52
HoweC614 - no, I meant governance and management of the Charity itself. Sorry for causing confusion

13th Jan 2011, 10:39
That's fair enough,

I'd be interested to see your answers to the questions submitted in the two posts previous to mine?

Thomas coupling
13th Jan 2011, 11:21
Having visited the web site and coming from a HEMS background, I have to say this set up is one of two things:

1. A very well meaning but extremely amateurish attempt at setting up an organisation, one which will fail very early on if they don't get the right advice and support,



If it is the latter - the appropriate authorities need to be informed without delay and before someone loses a lot of money contributing to this 'scheme'.

I don't really know who best to inform...should it be the police? Advice anyone?

Sir Niall Dementia
13th Jan 2011, 12:35
In the 2005/06 accounts more was paid to "consultants" then came in in income. Were the "consultants" in fact one man?

Did a national newspaper look at the idea of backing the charity completely and then suddenly back off after a little background research?

Are you ever going to give your collectors a briefing about helicopter ops so that they can answer questions with a little truth?

How many times will an EMS equipped EC135 stop between Aberdeen and London? (quite a lot actually so the real flying time of around around 3 hours 10 mins will have an extra hour or so of sitting around in an un-heated aircraft as it is re-fuelled)

Are the original founders involved in any way?

What were the original trustees reasons for resigning?

The helicopter world is small and very close knit. Should you be scamming you will come very un-stuck very fast.

13th Jan 2011, 14:07
The air ambulance community have been moaning about this, the first, Children's Air Ambulance for a while and that is what lay behind some of my earlier posts. The AAA say a great deal of 'their' money is being creamed off by the CAA collectors [and others] to no good end. Most of this is contained in the earlier posts.

At the time I approached the Charity Commission about this directly and they 'investigated' .... well if sitting on your hands in a Liverpool office and ringing up the people concerned can be taken as 'investigation' .... but found nothing to worry about. This is just one of a number of instances where the CC have been found to be poor investigators of matters raised with them and yet they are potentially the only body that undertakes this.

It would seem that the money raised in the last accounts represents little more than the annual cost of the Torquay building that is the base and some of the expences likely due to collectors. That the base is also apparently the home of the main Trustees would seem to be against the spirit of charity fundraising but is not likely to be illegal.

That there is a Children's Air Ambulance 2 on the horizon in darkest Yorkshire suggests that the set up is seen as a good heart rending business model. Save a life is one thing, save a child and the purses spring open.

The original drive behind the Children's Air Ambulance [1] is/was Paul Forster a very well regarded helicopter man who ran the conventional air ambulances for Cabair and saw a CAA as the next stage to go. He was last heard of involved with fixed wing.

You can find him via Google but links between him and the current set ups of CAA1 and CAA2 are not evident to me. He was the CAA CEO back in 2007 but there is nothing with a recent date that remains active. That said, a one time reader of PAN he suddenly withdrew himself from the database a year ago.... after the stories about CAA1 appeared.:confused:

206 jock
13th Jan 2011, 14:35
- I see the website mentions five trustees and the Charity Commission only know about three of them - Are you telling the public the true situation via the website, or telling the Charity Commission the truth? Can't be both, of course.

As of today, I can only see two!

PANews - as I understand it, many of the CAA 'volunteers' are paid charity collectors or "chuggers" as they are known. I'd hypothesise that much of the money raised is being paid to them.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of scammers willing to pass themselves off as air ambulance charities, it is seen on local level all the time. The apparent unwillingness of the poster above to answer any questions does nothing to enhance their credibility.

I see their Wikipedia 'advert' is due for deletion soon. It contains some interesting narrative. The Children's Air Ambulance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Children's_Air_Ambulance)

13th Jan 2011, 16:58
Interesting to see that their estimated flying cost of an EC135 is £575 per hour...

Fantasy or reality?

Perhaps all the aircraft costings are in their annual budget and that projected figure is just to cover the pilot's hourly salary...!


13th Jan 2011, 18:19
Doesn't look like a lot of room in their own back yard for a 135 ....


Nice place to "work" from though - I wonder how much of all that kindly diverted,
I mean donated money, went towards the mortgage of "Valley View", sorry, I mean Office running costs ?


Anyone calling themselves "CAA" and purporting to be a charity
are onto a loser straight away in my book :E


14th Jan 2011, 06:00
The house cost £420K in August 2007 according to this page (http://www.houseprices.co.uk/e.php?q=20,+Western+Road,+Torquay,+Torbay,+TQ1+4RL&n=10).

Also, to keep track on the "disappearing Trustees".

A couple of days back the website showed five trustees - Ray Dowding. Dr Shelly Riphagen, Robert Gould, Peter Frisby and Neil Mills. As of now, it shows Ray Dowding, Robert Gould and Peter Frisby

Back then the Charity Commission showed Dowding, Gould and Riphagen. Now it shows just Dowding and Gould

Wonder if this thread has prompted any changes..?

ropes away
14th Jan 2011, 07:49
My advice to anyone thinking about donating money to this would be to think again. There are far too many air ambulances already and the addition of a dedicated airframe just for flying one group of patients is simply not needed. In fact, it's not the airframe that has to be specially adapted, most existing aircraft are suitable--it is the experience that the medical team brings to paediatric care that matters. Whether you are in an air ambulance, SAR helicopter, MCA helicopter or even a fixed wing aircraft, the medical team brings the expertise and equipment with them.

There is far too much duplication of effort regarding HEMS services and adding another airframe to the mix does little more than diverting valuable charity money away from those organisations already supplying services. It's really weird that most people look at the helicopter as the ultimate life saving tool when, in fact, it's a combination of a flexible transport platform and the team it brings that is the true life saving tool.

Bottom Line: save your money and spend wisely.:cool:

14th Jan 2011, 09:34
There are far too many air ambulances already

Why do you think that?

14th Jan 2011, 12:49
nodrama - given "ropes away" is located in Cambridgeshire, it probably refers to the competition that East Anglian Air Ambulance gave themselves when they rejected the no-cost MAGPAS paramedics and decided to spend £££s on others via an organisation called EMS Consultants

see Charities clash over Magpas air ambulance medics - Health - Peterborough Today (http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/health/charities_clash_over_magpas_air_ambulance_medics_1_1587632)

and Sloane Helicopters provides an A109 EMS to Magpas (http://sloanehelicopters.com/latest_news_detail/144)

ropes away
14th Jan 2011, 13:17

since you're on to me, and not trying to be too political, the workload for 4 helicopters (soon to be 5) in the East of England simply isn't there. On a good day (bad for some) there may well be only 4 to 6 taskings requiring a medical team. If this was a commercial operation I think I would look at slimming the numbers down. In addition, there are some lovely Sea Kings sitting at RAF Wattisham and around the U.K. that are more than capable of providing a transport platform to any specialist peaditric transfer team to pretty much any place in the U.K. so why would we need another airframe to do this?

Personally I would advocate closer involvement of SAR helicopters with civilian HEMS operations so that instead of air ambulance operations ending when the sun goes down or the weather is below limits, we can provide a 24/7 all weather service. As the SAR service is about to go all civilian (last minute hitch with SAR-H permitting) it makes sense to me to integrate services rather than keep popping out new air ambulances for every specialist group of patients--what next, equestrian air ambulance????

206 jock
14th Jan 2011, 14:51
Ropes away, where did you get 5 from? As I understand it, the 'Magpas' helicopter was a short-lived PR stunt (one week!) and that Magpas are rapidly running out of cash.

Helihub, don't believe the 'free' Magpas vs '££££' EMS claptrap.

Mods, can we move these last 4 posts into the 'Air Ambulance' thread rather than in here? I'm keen to make sure BeachHutBoy answers the questions posed.

ropes away
14th Jan 2011, 15:09
206 watch this space, 5 will be the number.;) As far as losing the thread, I think not, might have wandered off piste slightly but I believe my comments relate to the children's air ambulance issue posed.:=

14th Jan 2011, 17:05
'or the weather is below limits' :ugh: I didn't know the SAR mk1 eyeball was any differant to a civvy one? What can a SAR aircraft offer apart from more space? It rarely shuts down incase it wont start again and still takes the best part of 15 minutes before it gets going......

Sven Sixtoo
14th Jan 2011, 20:16
Assuming you mean a SAR Sea King (there are more modern ac in the UK SAR fleet)


Rule 5 inapplicable

Icing clearance (limited I grant you, but better than nothing, and see comment above about more modern ac).

Full two pilot IFR capability

zero/zero IFR clearance offshore (useful for landfalls to coastal airfields too)

24/7 availability

spare aircraft at each location

national centralised co-ordination

240 nm radius of action, range around 500 nm

Independent intercom system for medical team (Now I'm fishing, maybe Air Ambulances have that too)

spare seats for relatives far enough out of the way that they don't get hysterical at awkward moments

The entire resources of the MoD on call without consideration of cost (fishing quite hard)

Coffee boiler

Free chocolate

Crab, but no Sven (OK now I'm really fishing)

Or were you fishing, winchman?

still seeking employment

Sven Sixtoo
14th Jan 2011, 20:23
Getting back to topic

Even at MoDs hideous contracted-out rates for a Sea King, you could do a hell of a lot of inter-hospital transfers of children for the sort of money this charity is postulating to spend on a very limited asset. And most of the time (outside of dark and hideous weather) a conventional Air Ambulance, or even a straightforward charter helicopter, could do it for a lot less than that and would no doubt be delighted to have their mission costs met by another organisation, or just the extra business at standard rates in a recession. Why not just support the existing providers?

still seeking employment

14th Jan 2011, 20:39
Sven, Top answer!!!!:ok: I didn't mean to take the urine but thought i'd throw in the duty forum hand grenade to see who would bite...... No Crab tonight???

Bertie Thruster
14th Jan 2011, 20:48
A slight aside: what next, equestrian air ambulance?

Lincs/Notts averages 2 equestrian callouts a week (approx 100 a year, 10% of our calls)

ropes away
14th Jan 2011, 21:46
I think we're onto something with the equestrian air ambulance--anyone want to form a charity? Sven--free chocolate, really????

9th Feb 2011, 10:56
Finally after brushing it under the carpet and claiming that there was nothing wrong with the operation the Charity Commission has issued a report on the Children's Air Ambulance that just about covers most of the many gripes that were received...



28th Jun 2011, 09:10
Further reading...

From the Droitwich Spa Advertiser: (http://www.droitwichadvertiser.co.uk/news/9105568.Spa_residents_urged_to_help_Children_s_Air_Ambulance _get_off_the_ground/)
FAMILIES, schools and groups in Droitwich are being encouraged to hold a teddy bears picnic this summer to help launch England’s first ever air ambulance for children.

The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) hopes to put the first paediatric service in the air to help transfer seriously sick children, from newborn to 16-year-olds, to specialist children’s hospitals across the country.

Young people across the region are usually covered by Birmingham, which is one of the main centres for intensive care for children.

However, many children across the country need to travel to other hospitals further away and are currently transferred by road ambulance, which provides an excellent and vital service but can take unnecessary hours of travel.

The Teddy Bears Picnics Project has been launched to help raise both awareness and funds for the service in a bid to ensure it launches this year.

People who want to get involved can download the pack from the CAA website to register their event.

Nicola Howkins, TCAA chief executive, said: “This is a great opportunity to really engage with children and communities in a fun way and for a great cause.

“We want to launch our first helicopter later this year with the longer aim of having three aircraft in the air providing 24-hour emergency transfers 365 days a year.”

For more information or to arrange a picnic visit tcaa.org.uk or call 01803 313778.

28th Jun 2011, 12:22
We want to launch our first helicopter later this year with the longer aim of having three aircraft in the air providing 24-hour emergency transfers 365 days a year

One would be nice.

Thomas coupling
28th Jun 2011, 13:55
Formation air ambulance team? Extended fuel tanks perhaps?

I misread it first time round, thought it said:

We want to launch our first helicopter later this year with the longer aim of having three aircraft in the air providing 24-hour emergency picnics for children 365 days a year

the beater
28th Jun 2011, 15:50
I'm sure that they don't think that anyone would confuse The Children's Air Ambulance (The CAA) with the other lesser known CAA:=

9th Dec 2011, 11:01
I'm surprised no-one else has highlighted this (http://www.stamfordmercury.co.uk/news/regional-news/air_ambulance_to_take_flight_1_3316749) yet:

"Published on Friday 9 December 2011 10:47

An air ambulance service helping to save the lives of seriously ill children across the country is set to take flight next year thanks to a new partnership with the owner of the Derbyshire Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA).

The Children's Air Ambulance charity will provide a national bespoke service from 2012 after being taken over by The Air Ambulance Service.

The umbrella organisation's takeover will enable the charity to carry out a transfer service transporting ill children to hospitals quickly to receive life-saving treatments.

Nicola Howkins, from the Children's Air Ambulance, said: "We are delighted to be joining forces and taking this wonderful opportunity to achieve our long-held operational goals."

Alongside the charity, The Air Ambulance Service also runs the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) and its sister service, Derbyshire Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance(DLRAA).

Both services are among the busiest in the country answering more than 220 life-saving missions each month.

Andy Williamson, WNAA CEO, said: "As the busiest air ambulance in the country, we know how important it is for patients to receive the highest standards of specialist medical care. There are hundreds of critically ill children every year who need the advanced care and time critical transfers to specialist children's hospital units.

"Getting a child to a specialist care centre by land can involve long and frequently medically challenging travel times putting a child at risk while causing untold stress to the family.

"In taking over The Children's Air Ambulance we will not only be able to make this air transfer service an operational reality but also increase survival by helping to reduce travel times and move specialist NHS clinical teams with the child quickly."

The Children's Air Ambulance, which was registered as a charity in 2005, will operate from Coventry Airport, the WNAA base. For more information on the Children's Air Ambulance, visit www.childrensairambulance.co.uk."

...made for an interesting excuse to go back through this thread. Still, with the busiest Air Ambo organisation in the country on board, what could possibly go rwong? P'raps they've finally found something a 169 can be useful for..

9th Dec 2011, 12:22
Translated by Jayteeto........ There is no need for a specialist Childrens Air Ambulance. The task will be completed using existing aircraft???????

10th Dec 2011, 14:39
Even if the charity fund-raising side is not an issue, the time delay and cost of positioning a specialist helicopter operation such as this is a real threat to the success of such an operation. In a completely different operational area, it is why fractional ownership of helicopters is never likely to succeed.

10th Dec 2011, 14:58
By Heck Ropes Away, you just gave me a good idea for a gap in the market!:}

Bertie Thruster
12th Dec 2011, 18:17
Both services are among the busiest in the country answering more than 220 life-saving missions each month.

I wonder if that figure is helped much by a 60% stand down rate?

....and watch out local air ambo charities; here's a new 'national' air ambulance that can fund raise anywhere in the UK. (no doubt using that emotive childrens title to good effect!)

Curious too how WNAA and DLRAA could drop their regional monikers.

'The Air Ambulance Service' ...............What a good way to tap into the generosity of local people.....anywhere!

12th Dec 2011, 22:40
Ah, there you go Bertie, bringing facts, clarity and perception to the discussion. Never learn, do you!?

Seriously, your points re the change of name for your neighbours had occurred to me too. Anyone else remember the people who were involved in stories like this (http://www.bagitup.org.uk/news/beware-air-ambulance-service-misleads-donors/)? I can't see any difference at all between the name they used and the new one for those folk in the N and E Midlands.

As I believe PPRuNe has a policy of including the text of t'interweb articles for folk not able to access sites in our neck of the woods, herewith the text from the link I gave in para 2:

Beware 'Air Ambulance Service' Misleads Donors

Bag It Up would like to advise their charity supporters not to confuse their successful recycling scheme with an organisation known as ‘Air Ambulance Service’ after leaflets have been canvassed in numerous areas over the last few days.

The Yorkshire Air Ambluance Charity office, which is based in Elland, has received a copy of a leaflet which was posted in the Northowram area of Halifax yesterday evening, asking residents to donate clothing.

Katie Collinson from the YAA explains “We would like to clarify to all of our supporters that the YAA has no links whatsoever to ‘Air Ambulance Service’ nor have we ever been involved with them. Our official recycling partner is ‘Bag It Up Ltd’ who operates our regional recycling scheme on behalf of the Charity. We would also like to clarify that we do not operate a doorstep collection service. Instead we encourage our supporters to donate their unwanted textiles in their nearest YAA recycling bank found at various locations across the region.”

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Bag It Up Ltd have operated the successful recycling scheme across Yorkshire for over five years now, and recently celebrated raising a landmark £1million through the scheme. Any materials distributed about the YAA recycling scheme are fully branded with the YAA logo, Charity registration number, and full contact details.

(3 paragraphs follow explaining the legit system run in Yorkshire and various projects, then finally...)

The 'Air Ambulance Service' has been canvassing areas across the UK, and is not linked to any of our Air Ambulance Charity partners. Please visit our 'Partners' page to see which Air Ambulances are official recycling partners with Bag It Up. If anyone is in doubt about any literature or bags they receive about recycling for the Air Ambulance, we would encourage supporters to contact us or their local Air Ambulance Charity directly.

- If you want a really comprehensive read on why people and organisations around the UK should be interested in anyone calling themselves the Air Ambulance Service, make your way over to this little gem of a site (http://www.charitybags.org.uk/air_ambulance_service_clothing_collections_aas.shtml). You may need a fair amount of time to wade through it all. Up to the reader to decide whether they and the Children's Air Ambo of old share any similarities.

2nd May 2012, 18:49
Hello chaps, just thought I would chuck in my two pennorth worth as a current HEMS, and ex SAR, pilot operating the 135 in the UK.

The new management of the TCAA seem to be rather more legit than their predecessors, although the claims about their service seem as far-fetched and aspirational as ever, but I am really not convinced that what they are trying to achieve is worthwhile, affordable, or practical. Just a few points to start you off:

1. Running costs. I am not a commercial type but the numbers I hear bandied about are in the region of £1.2M per year for a 135 10hrs a day 365 days a year. A 24/7 operation would be more than double that due to crewing etc.

2. Response times. Even with 3 ac spread around the UK, getting the ac to the patient is going to take time.

3. Speed. Aren't long transfers a lot quicker by FW air Ambulances? That is why they use them a lot in Scotland where long transits are often required. I know they use a mix of RW and FW but TCAA does not seem to have clicked yet.

4. Space. One of the problems of the current crop of AA ac is lack of space for medical teams of more than 2 or 3 people. Bigger ac = more money, see point 1!! That is why SAR ac are sometimes used during the day in preference to AA.

5. Regulations. All AA operations are classed as commercial air transport and operate to those regs. So, no exemption from rule 5 (the low flying rule) or the 1000' rule for flight over/ in congested areas or from normal weather limits. There are exemptions available for HEMS work (interestingly not from rule 5 though!) but transfers between hospitals are not necessarily allowed to use these exemptions, it depends on whether the task is defined as HEMS or not (HEMS is where rapid and immediate transport is ESSENTIAL, Air Ambulance is where the ac is being used an extension to the normal, land-based, ambulance service). Currently night HEMS is not possible, although that may not be true for an awful lot longer as I believe there is a lot of work on NVG ops going on for the civvy AA market. (standing by for blast from [email protected]!)

6. Icing. As far as I am aware there are no current civilian light twins with an icing clearance, that precludes IFR work for a fairly large chunk of the year! I could be wrong on this one though as I have not flown the 902/ 109/ S76.

So, apart from that lot as a starter, I can't see any snags at all!! Personally I would not give them a penny, I just cannot see that what they are trying to achieve is necessary.

Interesting that Beach Hut Boy never answered the questions though!!


206 jock
2nd May 2012, 19:54

You raise a series of interesting and pertinent points, none of which I can argue with.

It almost seems like the new 'owners' of TCAA (whose rather grandiose byline is now 'saving lives nationwide' :=) acquired the dodgy charity to enable them to fundraise on a national level, using the emotive 'children's' moniker to legitimise their activities. But of course no-one would be that devious and scheming, would they? Funny that the 'Air Ambulance Service' have left the AAA. No doubt their 'we're just not understood' message fell on deaf ears amongst the other air ambulance operations. I gather that Midlands Air ambulance have put their position in the public domain. MAAC publicly slams children (http://www.waypointmagazine.com/story361)

What next, a Pet's air ambulance? People will put their hands in their pockets for that, surely? Would help keep a couple of thirsty A109's flying for a bit longer, for sure.

Bertie Thruster
2nd May 2012, 20:48
TCAA does not seem to have clicked yet.
I think they have! It's very simple in the case of this charity; follow the money!

Hello stormypete. You must see some sights in your job!

Stormy: they (some 109 operators) don't think rule 5 applies to them as jarops states 300ft cloud base for HEMS!

3rd May 2012, 11:21
MAAC publicly slams children (http://www.waypointmagazine.com/story361)

That's a cracking headline in itself.

Wouldn't give a chugger for TCAA the time of day.

3rd May 2012, 16:03
FWIW, Private Eye have written an article about The Children's Air Ambulance in this fortnight's edition (no 1313). It's on pg 30.

7th May 2012, 20:29
Yup, it does, but it also states that this may be for "a short duration". Flying at 300 feet does not necessarily mean you will break the 500 foot rule though as this rule does not stop you flying below 500 feet. It stops you flying within 500 feet of a person vessel vehicle or structure. In the UK it is difficult, in most areas, to fly below 500 feet for any length of time without doing so however! But there are large chunks of uninhabitated Britain where it is perfectly possible to do so.

Bertie Thruster
7th May 2012, 21:33
I agree entirely but it's quite difficult to do so at your base airfield when the metar is 300ft!

but that's the cloud base min they use for launch!

24th Jun 2012, 11:30
It seems that the TCAA are still at it.

Called into the Chester services on the M56 yesterday evening, and took our lad into the disabled toilet facility. Inside, there were two A4 size ADMEDIA wallplates, carrying an appeal, one for SHELTER, and the other for TCAA. The latter had photographs of two different helos, with " Captain Dan" posed in front of a third.
Readers were invited to text 'LIFESAVER' to a number to donate £3 to the TCAA.:mad:

I will try to contact ADMEDIA tomorrow to follow this up.

Bertie Thruster
24th Jun 2012, 16:36
And more lies, from the Plymouth area this time: Primary Times (http://www.primarytimes.net/plymouth/news-in-plymouth)

If the industry doesn't get a grip of this money making con they may regret the outcome.

26th Jun 2012, 09:53
I dropped a line to the Primary Times HQ alerting them to the need to research their article....... silence has prevailed. So either the e-mail was spammed as a first contact or they are ignoring the message.

It is a bit like a horse to water.... and sadly I guess TCAA will eventually prevail through not enough people speaking out against their regular little successes.

26th Jun 2012, 10:58
[email protected]cations.co.uk
Primary Times contact

23rd Oct 2012, 22:39
Very interesting reading.

I founded the pages for TCAA, TAAS, DLRAA and WNAA on Wikipedia. And if there is anything that can be added (and referenced) then I'm sure it would help the article. (Although I am firmly against TAAS and TCAA.)

I have stuggled with a Wikipedia user called 'taas' who frequently turns the page into a huge advert for the charities, and deletes criticisms. One guess as to what 'taas' stands for.
If you know how Wikipedia works you can view his additions on the history page of each article. They make funny reading.

And also has anyone heard of 'Lucy Air Ambulance', similar to TCAA?! Childrens specialist?!

Let me know.

31st Oct 2012, 18:51
There is a BBC News Story out there that states TCAA [The Children's Air Ambulance] has been launched using an AW109 of the TAAS.

Some may recall that there was a promise/statement of intent to launch TCAA in December.

Well it looks like it has gone a month early but.... If the story is correct they have launched early with 'only' £500,000 collected but not as an independent service. Half a Mil is not a sustainable amount, so its badge engineering that will/may allow TAAS to claim the TCAA now has a machine. That will/may improve collection figures and allow them to meet the 'December' intention at a new deadline of February next year.

31st Oct 2012, 22:05
Simon Le Bon gets The Children's Air Ambulance off the ground | The Childrens Ambulance | TCAA (http://www.thechildrensairambulance.org.uk/about-us/news/organisation-news/simon-le-bon-gets-the-childrens-air-ambulance-off-the-ground)

Simon Le Bon gets The Children's Air Ambulance off the ground

31 October 2012

Duran Duran star, Simon Le Bon, is lending his support to The Children's Air Ambulance today (31 October), to launch the lifesaving service at the Barclay's London Heliport in Battersea.

The Children's Air Ambulance (TCAA) will transfer critically ill children from general hospitals to Paediatric Intensive Care Units across England and Wales, or help move specialist paediatric teams to enable children to receive the lifesaving, specialist treatment and care that they need as soon as possible, cutting transfer times.

Simon Le Bon comments: "The Children's Air Ambulance is a fantastic new service that is desperately needed throughout the UK - each year, thousands of seriously ill children need urgent care at specialist hospitals. However, at the moment, they can face long road journeys, which could be detrimental to getting the lifesaving help they need.

"This service relies completely on charitable donations from the general public. It is my intention to do all I can to raise the profile of TCAA and to help raise the money that is so crucial to keeping the service running."

As well as reducing travel times, the air transfer service will also allow NHS specialist clinical teams to travel with the child - ensuring both a quick and safe journey.

Andy Williamson, Chief Executive of The Air Ambulance Service, comments: "It's a hugely exciting day for us. After months of planning, we're now entering a two month phase of training and fundraising - our crew will be visiting five children's transfer groups across the UK for familiarisation purposes - before beginning to undertake missions in early 2013."

The service needs a further £545,000 to begin delivering a life-saving service to critically ill babies and children in England and Wales, with a further £134,000 required per month to maintain the service. This money will be spent training staff and kitting out the helicopter to launch the country's first dedicated Air Ambulance service for critically ill children and babies.

He continues: "We have the helicopter, the pilots and the team and we're ready to go - our focus now is to secure the funds we need to get off the ground.

"The organisation is funded solely through the generous donations received from the public and vital support from corporate sponsors - without any Government or National Lottery funding - so we're urging the country to get behind the service to help us reach our £545,000 target."

Operating under the umbrella service of The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS), The Children's Air Ambulance will benefit from the extensive medical, aviation and core fundraising expertise gained through the running of TAAS' existing helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS); the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance.

206 jock
1st Nov 2012, 09:41
And the Association of Air Ambulance's thoughts on the matter:

30th October 2012


Air ambulance charities across the country are warning that the launch of a new air ambulance operation could lead to a reduction in air ambulance provision and public confusion.

The concerns are raised in advance of the launch of a national children’s air ambulance based in the Midlands.

The Association of Air Ambulances, which represents the majority of air ambulance charities and ambulance services throughout the UK, says the proposed service is a retrieval service based on the current Paediatric Retrieval Service provided by the NHS. It is not an emergency service unlike all other air ambulance operations.

AAA Director, Clive Dickin, said: “There is currently no clinical evidence to support the provision of an enhanced service above the one already provided through public funding. Whilst the current service does very occasionally request a patient to be airlifted, it always uses the established network of air ambulances, military aircraft or private air ambulances.

“The proposed Children’s Air Ambulance (CAA) is to be based at Coventry Airport. While this is a central location, to use this aircraft to transfer a seriously ill child from say Somerset to London, the Coventry based aircraft would have pass over five existing air ambulance aircraft, which simply does not make sense from either a time or cost perspective.

“For over 20 years, air ambulances have provided a highly regarded and professional service across the UK doing emergency and retrieval work. Working closely with their local NHS ambulance service, air ambulances are tasked on a daily basis to respond to a variety of incidents, including paediatric referral cases.

“The clinical need for a dedicated air transport system is being reviewed by the Association’s Clinical Sub Committee, but to date, no clinical need for this new service has been identified.

“What is also worrying is that the pre-advertising of this service as a ‘national’ one has led to confusion amongst members of the public which will ultimately almost certainly lead to a drop in fundraising for all charities.

I can't disagree with the thrust of this, but the AAA's message is lost in the wind. Andy Williamson's ego trip continues to gather momentum - and using the emotive 'children's' tag to further his ambition is cynical and nasty. If ever I meet him, I'll tell him so too.

1st Nov 2012, 09:52
And they probably still won't do the ECMOs.

1st Nov 2012, 14:10
I saw this in our local midweek freebie yesterday;


Should the reporter be directed to this thread?

206 jock
1st Nov 2012, 17:13
Sadly Silo, I suspect the evangelical zeal of 'The Ego' has spread to the rest of the TAAS/TCAA team. All credit to them for seizing the agenda and consistently sticking to the thrust of their argument. The fact that everyone else around the country involved in air ambulance fundraising disagrees with them (as they all believe - apparently quite wrongly, according to TAAS - that local identity is vital to the success of local air ambulance operations) seems to be nothing more than an irritation.

But if you are minded, this thread was also relevant.


BTW anyone who believes that the answer lies in public funding of an air ambulance service...get real. That's an even more ridiculous notion than TAAS's proposals.

4th Nov 2012, 17:56

Wondering if the instigators of the TCAA were thinking of the above when considering the 76? Using it as a model. Going along the lines of the US healthcare system or down under.

In summary

1) Simon Le Bon : is he putting his name and pocket at risk here if it goes Pete Tong?

2) Is there any whiff of fraud and if so why isn't the Fraud Squad / MIT investigating? On a humorous note are the TCAA a sinister secret organisation out to destabilise the current air ambulance charities in true 007 bad guy style ?

3) is there a genuine need for a dedicated infant / neonatal air transport in the UK? Funnily enough worked with incubator mount for a BO105 and EC135. AFAIK or guess ground transport / transfers are working fine. I could be wrong but then the magic question pops up about how many hospitals have dedicated helipads in UK?

4) if it does take off :ok::mad: and doesn't affect the other charities then do we all bite our tongues. Realistically when are we looking at the TcAA aircraft performing its mission?


13th Nov 2012, 13:03
Anyone received this email below as its just come into my (funnily enough) Spam box?

Find out about our new ticket prices...
You're invited... (http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=cd0d590232b4649bdb0605193&id=93fa5211da&e=43d7bd984e)
Special Offer
The Bodyguard (http://www.thechildrensairambulancegala.org.uk/)
We are delighted to invite you to our special gala performance of new West End hit, The Bodyguard, on 6^th December at London’s Adelphi Theatre and we’re offering you a Buy One Get One Free offer on general tickets and a 30% discount on VIP Hospitality tickets!

With a range of ticket options and VIP packages on offer, we will be hosting an evening of sophistication and unrivalled entertainment to suit groups of all sizes. Celebrity guests will be in attendance in what is set to be a stylish, red carpet event.

This really is a once in a lifetime event and also offers the perfect way to ring in the festive period; so treat your loved ones and join us and the celebrities on the red carpet.

At this romantic thriller, the Premium VIP Hospitality Package, costing just £297.50 with your 30% discount, gives guests post theatre drinks and canapés, a 2 course Jamie Oliver supper with matched wines, as well as the opportunity to mingle with the cast and celebrity guests while cruising along the Thames.

We are offering a Buy One Get One Free offer on general tickets and a 30% discount on VIP Hospitality tickets, this is extended to all family and friends so we hope you will join us for this fantastic occasion and celebrate the launch of The Children’s Air Ambulance.

All proceeds from the musical will go to The Children’s Air Ambulance (| The Children's Air Ambulance | TCAA (http://www.thechildrensairambulance.org.uk)) ; a new and unique transfer service that will take to the skies in 2013 and transport seriously ill children to specialist care units across England and Wales. Not only will you have a fantastic evening, you’ll be supporting a much needed cause and ensuring families across the country get the care and support they so desperately need.

To find out more about the event please visit www.thechildrensairambulancegala.org.uk (http://www.thechildrensairambulancegala.org.uk). To take advantage of our special offer please call 08454 130 979; the booking line is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

Hope to see you there!


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You are receiving this email because you have previously supported us.
Our mailing address is:
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Figured they got my email address I was in contact with the DLRAA from a year back.

(Remember waking up in Dallas on the friday morning (attending Heli Expo) back in Feb waking up to see the breaking news of Whitneys demise)


6th Dec 2012, 18:26
Just saw this on TCAA website

TCAA announce partnership with Glenfield Hospital | The Childrens Ambulance | TCAA (http://www.thechildrensairambulance.org.uk/about-us/news/organisation-news/tcaa-announce-partnership-with-glenfield-hospital)

2nd Jan 2013, 17:01
MAAC publicly slams children (http://www.waypointmagazine.com/story361)

Further to the story; UK Police units are, as we read, being contacted by TCAA in reference to the availability of 24hr fuel and unit operating hours, I don't suppose this has anything to do with the VAT on fuel discussion :suspect:

The call begins with the opener, "This is xxxxxx from the Children's Air Ambulance, providing a 24 hr service to sick and injured children throughout the UK...." Lets ask the question of a 24/7 setup; Why phone a unit 10 miles away from your own base and ask if you can have 24/7 fuel available to you at 'locally arranged rates'.

And another thing, although the kettle is always on for anyone, please don't use the words, 'we could also 'steal' a brew while we're there!' :ugh:

(Just so you know apart from any other reasons, due to their type, fuel will not be available here :ok: )

2nd Jan 2013, 17:14
Children's air ambulance takes off | This is South Devon (http://www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk/Children-s-air-ambulance-takes/story-17495515-detail/story.html)

Comment by Devon Air Ambulance Trust
“I would like to reassure readers that Devon already has 2 local children's air ambulances: Devon Air Ambulance Trust can and does provide critical inter-hospital transfers. Many of these have been featured in our Helipad magazine. In fact it was the first and so far only Air Ambulance Trust in the country to have its own aircraft approved incubator since 2006 so that it can even transport newborn babies.

What this article does not say is that, whilst Devon Air Ambulance's Exeter aircraft is just 20 miles away, the Children's Air Ambulance will be based around 200 miles away in Coventry. Please be assured Devon Air Ambulance, owned by and for local people, will continue to be there for all the community, from 0 to 100+, whether from coast, country or hospital thanks to the support of local people.”

4th Jan 2013, 07:52
I must admit I first read that request for fuel as the Children's Air Ambulance setting itself up to operate but a source tells me it is a little more basic.

It appears that the whole operation [The Air Ambulance Service] based at Coventry cannot get fuel most of the night as Coventry Airport closes Midnight to 0700 so they are probably trying to source fuel for night transfers etc. that might be cheaper than other commercial sources.

I am sure they might be a little surprised to let down at a police unit to find that everyone has gone home ..... except at selected venues [bit of a hike from Coventry to Manchester or Lippitts Hill I guess - even if they can find a man with the pump keys].

4th Jan 2013, 09:54
If a 24/7 setup can't get fuel at its own base 24/7..... :ouch:

4th Feb 2013, 22:18
BBC story. (Available online until Feb 10th)

BBC News - Air Ambulance Service: Unease over new charity service (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21262616)

There are currently 16 different air ambulance services covering Britain, each of which is separate and distinct.

Now one charity says it wants to start a new service - a national helicopter dedicated to transporting sick children between hospitals.

It currently operates two other regional emergency helicopter services - the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance.

It has also taken over the Children's Air Ambulance service.

The charity has recently rebranded itself as The Air Ambulance Service, and plans to offer a new national service using one helicopter to cover England.

Some other air ambulance services, including the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, say the rebrand has created confusion.

They are also concerned about how realistic its plans are, and the potential impact they will have on the services other air rescue services currently provide.


5th Feb 2013, 00:19
The longer version of the Inside out (E.Mids) programme on iPlayer soon, with a couple of very interesting interviews :ooh:

BBC iPlayer - Inside Out East Midlands: 04/02/2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01qgqkn/Inside_Out_East_Midlands_04_02_2013/)

5th Feb 2013, 13:26
Questionable motives there, the greater good of children does not appear to be the top priority.....:suspect:

Thomas coupling
5th Feb 2013, 19:24
I was trying to think of a way to stop this guy in his tracks but the only ones who can do that are the general public. The CAA, nor the Ambulance service nor the assoc of AA's could have any say in their progress.
That's probably the best thing about this programme - to put an element of doubt in everyone's mind.
It's a shame that there are people like this out there - fleecing the innocent under false pretences, but to do it in full view of the audience as well is downright outrageous.
For an (ex) member of his staff to speak out about him like this goes to show how the "charity" has lost its way.
Could the charities commission become involved?
I feel sorry for all the other regional units who do a sterling job especially in economic circumstances like this.

5th Feb 2013, 21:08
Different circumstances but not totally unlike the misdirection at London's Air Ambulance, run by an increasingly large board all pulling in large salaries while keeping the pilot's pay way down for a multi-crew VFR/IFR operation.........:ugh:

6th Feb 2013, 10:32
The Association of Air Ambulances, perhaps sensing a drip of blood in the water, has just issued this......

BBC One - Inside Out West Midlands, 04/02/2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgqpg) West Midlands
BBC One - Inside Out East Midlands, 04/02/2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgqkn) East Midlands
BBC One - Inside Out West, 04/02/2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgqp0) West
BBC One - Inside Out South West, 04/02/2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgqnq) South West

You also may wish to join our Facebook page at:

Six years without a real operational flight sort of speaks for itself and the idealistic creation of one man is showing its flaws to such a degree that other charities in the field, including Lucy's which pays for transport of children using existing aircraft, have been trying to show clear space between their activities and TCAA. They may well be victims in the fallout - assuming the whole thing is not [again] quickly forgotten about.

6th Feb 2013, 11:15
I have followed this story with interest; in the interests of full disclosure I should say that I'm the CEO of a charity, although not one in this field.

It seems to me fairly obvious that this services offer nothing that the current set up cannot - I agree with the Air Ambulance Association. Part of the problem is that it is very easy to set up a charity - as long as the cause is deemed charitable the only reason that the Charity Commission can use to refuse registration is that another charity is doing exactly the same thing for exactly the same group of beneficiaries in exactly the same way and covering exactly the same location. And so, this Charity is set up to solve a problem that doesn't exist...

That having been said it also appears to me that the current AA setup could do with some rationalization. There really is no need to have separately constituted Charities (and consequent costs) for each area of the country. I accept that fundraising needs to be local (and be, in the jargon, restricted) but there's no need for separate Chief Execs, HR Managers and Finance departments...

Thomas coupling
6th Feb 2013, 11:36
Captivep: Concur wholeheartedly.
The AAA is a double edged sword per se. The beauty of individual charities is that they make the operation their own and micro manage the charity thus by definition should make it quite a financially efficient organisation. Personal pride in owning and delivering your own 'private' business should make them lean and efficient.
The beauty of a "national" AA organisation is that the synergies reduce costs from a managerial perspective but also from a maintenance and procurement perspective.

It will take a brave person to try to 'combine' all the existing individual operations without upsetting a lot of people. But the Police model could be an example where the "ethos" might work.

This guy running the children's air ambulance woke up one morning and realised he could be onto something here as a disguise for for his own ambitions. Unfortunately those ambitions don't reflect those of the rest of society.
No operational flight in 6 years - surely the charities commision must now take a very close interest?????

If he is also the boss for 2 other 'normal' AA's - what might the impact be on them, with what he is doing now??:rolleyes:

6th Feb 2013, 12:00
I agree that the Police setup could be an interesting prototype - proves the point, really.

As for actually getting charities to merger for the greater good - the biggest issues are indeed the egos of people involved but it can be done!

6th Feb 2013, 12:22
... I was delighted to see his obvious discomfort when attempting field some very relevant questions.

Actually, if you watch it, and whenever you hear the the phrase "patient care" you ignore it, and replace it with "my lifestyle and ego" the feature makes perfect sense.

For example - "Everything we do is for the benefit of patient care"

Well done the BBC,


7th Feb 2013, 09:56
Interesting that the PR agency with the contract to promote the Childrens Air Ambulance is run by his wife,something else that he looked discomforted about in the interview.

7th Feb 2013, 11:20
And quite rightly too! For a Charity CEO to award a contract like that to his wife is completely inappropriate (at best).

My charity recently recruited some staff (not reporting to me directly) and my wife would have been a perfect fit for one of the jobs - would have loved to do it too!

It didn't even cross our mind that she should apply; it would have been simply wrong.

7th Feb 2013, 11:43
How much profit do they, sorry, she, sorry the PR Company take,
sorry, make, sorry earn, from the Charitable donations collected ? :yuk:


7th Feb 2013, 14:22
How much profit do they, sorry, she, sorry the PR Company take,
sorry, make, sorry earn, from the Charitable donations collected ? :yuk:

According to the programme and CEO, at least enough to hire Anton du Beke and Erin Boag to give the staff moral boosting dance lessons :=

BBC News - Air Ambulance Service's fundraising and spending criticised (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21290338)

She (Barbara Parish, a former fundraiser manager for TAAS) also said Strictly Come Dancing stars Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag were invited to give dance lessons at a staff away day, which she claims cost the charity thousands of pounds.

Ms Parish also said some staff were paid performance-related bonuses and she regretted accepting her £3,500 bonus.

Andy Williamson, chief executive of TAAS who is paid between £110,000 and £119,000 according to the charity's latest accounts, said its new name was "a good reflection of what we are actually doing".

Of hiring Strictly Come Dancing celebrities he said: "Everything's about patients because however many staff we have we need to keep them motivated, we need to keep them focussed on delivering their particular role. That ensures that we deliver that patient care."

Isn't saving the life of a child motivation & focus enough?

Thomas coupling
7th Feb 2013, 14:26
He earns £119,000/annum. She is the boss of the PR consultancy that the service hired, so she must be on some serious bucks. They also have lavish charity bashes it seems. I wouldn't be surprised to see north of £250,000 for this lot alone.

7th Feb 2013, 16:21
A week or so ago I had a donation bag pushed through my door from the Air Ambulance Service (which is the umbrella organisation covering the Childrens Air Ambulance, Derbyshire/Leicester/Rutland Air Ambulance and Warwickshire\Nothamptonshire Air Ambulance).

Presumably they are allowed to do this because they run the Childrens Air Ambulance (which is national) - our local Air Ambulance is the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance.

However, any donations go to the Air Ambulance Service (the small print says "a minimum of £105 will be paid to the Air Ambulance Service for every tonne of clothing collected"). There is nothing claiming that the collections outside of Derbyshire/Leicester/etc. would be dedicated to the Childrens Ambulance Service, for instance.

7th Feb 2013, 16:36
My charity recently recruited some staff (not reporting to me directly) and my wife would have been a perfect fit for one of the jobs - would have loved to do it too!

It didn't even cross our mind that she should apply; it would have been simply wrong.

Whilst I admire your (and your wife's) principles, I don't think it would have been automatically wrong - provided that the conflict of interest was clearly declared and that you were clearly excluded from the recruitment process (which in any case is essential for marital bliss if your wife applied and didn't get the job!)

7th Feb 2013, 19:45
However, any donations go to the Air Ambulance Service (the small print says "a minimum of £105 will be paid to the Air Ambulance Service for every tonne of clothing collected").

I'd love to know how much is actually paid, considering that clothing can be £1,000 to £1,500 per tonne.

Charities suffer as criminal gangs target lucrative clothing recycling sector - Investigations - The Ecologist (http://www.theecologist.org/investigations/waste_and_recycling/753570/charities_suffer_as_criminal_gangs_target_lucrative_clothing _recycling_sector.html)
TEXTILE RECYCLING (eg charity shops, recycling centres, charity clothing collections) (http://www.charitybags.org.uk/textile_recycling.shtml)

7th Feb 2013, 22:36
A week or so ago I had a donation bag pushed through my door from the Air Ambulance Service (which is the umbrella organisation covering the Childrens Air Ambulance, Derbyshire/Leicester/Rutland Air Ambulance and Warwickshire\Nothamptonshire Air Ambulance).

Presumably they are allowed to do this because they run the Childrens Air Ambulance (which is national) - our local Air Ambulance is the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance.

We've been getting these through the letter box for quite some time. The envelopes say "Your air ambulance" when it clearly isn't, we're not in any of the counties covered and we have our own helicopter.

I'm afraid the envelopes go straight in the bin.

8th Feb 2013, 13:09
mdovey - you're probably right!

But there's also another good reason to avoid a situation like this; if my wife had got the job and then turned out to be rubbish at it then it would have put her direct manager in a very difficult position...

I certainly think there's no justification for employing your spouse's firm to do work for your Charity. There's the possibility of collusion in setting the price, at the very least.

I suspect that if I had done something like that without my trustees' knowledge then I would be facing a serious "gross misconduct" disciplinary process. Ans if I HAD asked them, I think it would have a very short conversation (mostly about my judgement) and a resounding "no".

206 jock
9th Feb 2013, 09:58
I have taken the opportunity to pass the link to the longer BBC expose to Simon Le Bon's publicist. Hopefully that will encourage the latter to reconsider his (paid for???) support for Andy Williamson's ego trip.

Captivep, there are many AA charities that are already serving multiple helicopters/operations. Kent/Surrey/Sussex operates two helicopters but is one charity, as is Essex and Herts. Ditto Midlands, Great North, East Anglia etc etc. Not all air ambulance trustees are myopic idiots :=

Flaxton Flyer
9th Feb 2013, 16:15
Mr. Andy Williamson did indeed look shifty when asked about his wife's involvement in the PR company (Loquendi). However, the reporter's lazy research team had clearly not done their work diligently enough. If they had, maybe the reporter would have asked an even better question...like who is Chairman of Loquendi.....

Don't waste your time googling the answer, just take a wild guess. :ok:

2 sheds
10th Feb 2013, 21:49
From the Loquendi website:
You are always welcome to visit our offices in Milton Keynes and pop in for a coffee.
Could always drop in for a five-minute argument - or even the full half-hour (as long as you pay).

2 s

11th Feb 2013, 07:34
206 Jock - I wasn't suggesting that any trustees of Air Ambulance Charities were "myopic idiots" - just that if one take a helicopter view (sorry!) of the national need for these services one would probably take a very different view of the necessary organizational structure.

That having been said, it does appear that the trustees in this case have, to put it mildly, taken a very relaxed view about what is, at best, a very clear case of conflict of interest.

206 jock
11th Feb 2013, 08:21
Captivep, I fully understand your logic (you may have guessed, I am an AA charity trustee with a one charity/two helicopter operation), but in our many discussions internally and with neighbouring charities at trustee level, we have - thus far - come to the conclusion that local identity is more easily sustained by maintaining local(ish) focus of the operational team. Our overhead bite is carefully assessed on a monthly basis and represents a small proportion of outgoings.

As for TAAS, whilst it would be delightful if Mr.Williamson was undertaking his little 'bit on the side' without the knowledge of his trustees. However, I suspect that he has used his PR skills to good effect, telling them why no other company could possibly do a better job than him.

22nd Apr 2013, 17:08
Having read this thread and the earlier one about the dismissal of a CEO of another Air Ambulance service, I recommend the following book for further reading.

"You can't park there" by (Doctor) Tony Bleetman. It gives an account of the setting up of the HEMS unit at Coventry Airport. The book doesn't name WNAAC specifically, but I recognised some of the references in the book and research confirm my feeling that I knew the service to which it referred.

Two things stood out in the book. The real money does not come from ladies shaking tins at the door of supermarkets, indeed they are sometimes a bit of an embarrasment. Corporate donations and sponsoring are the real heart of Air Ambulance funding.

The other is how difficult a paediatric transfer can become in a non dedicated aircraft.

If you can wade through all the bad language in the book, you may learn something about how an Air Ambulance actually works off(!) the ground.

Away from the book, I too am concerned about the "awayday" jamboree or bonding session that was reported earlier in the thread. I have to say that it has affected my donations to WNAAC.

I believe that Coventry was chosen as a base for TCAA for similar reason to the coastal polution treatment aircraft were situated there. Being in the middle of the country they can get anywhere quickly. The difference being the polution guys were heading to specific point to do a job, not going there as a first stage of a three stage journey.

I think TAAS have some questions to answer, Certainly before they get anyomore of my money.

22nd Apr 2013, 19:54
The aircraft was recently noted in Battersea Heliport with a pair of fundraising girls in the back, not a casualty. When a more local air ambulance arrived for fuel the crew were quizzed by said fundraisers "Are you guys our competition?" TCAA has also reportedly opened a fundraising shop, within sight of the major London trauma centre where aircraft operate from/to, whilst claiming to be a local operation!!!! :=

Need I say more?

23rd Apr 2013, 11:22

The real money does not come from ladies shaking tins at the door of supermarkets, indeed they are sometimes a bit of an embarrasment.

These may be Dr Bleetman's words, not yours, but I find it strange to refer to people who give up their own time to raise funds as 'an embarrasment' (SIC)
Every little helps as they say.

206 jock
23rd Apr 2013, 14:51
Good point Wokkaboy: the volunteers are a very important part of any Air Ambulance charity's resources. Everyone would howl derision if the support of a volunteer was spurned so a 'professional' could provide input for all charity events. It sounds like 'Dr.Bleetman' has been swallowing the bullshit of Williamson who no doubt has his own agenda in this regard (he does in everything else).

As for where the cash comes from, he's also spouting b*****ks. I can safely say that the contributions to the charity I'm involved with from corporates or 'sponsorship' are very welcome but both irregular and only forms a small % of total income. These - together with the 'ladies shaking tins', attendance at events, golf days etc etc - form a very important role, both in the funds they raise and in keeping the charity at the front of people's minds. But the real money comes from something much more basic. If Williamson hasn't figured that out yet, I'm not going to be the one to tell him.

23rd Apr 2013, 19:01
Jock and Wokkaboy I was quoting directly from the book. Bleetman was heavily involved in PR at the front end and describes how he attended a function put on by a group where he was at the end going to recieve a cheque on behalf of the charity. To say that he was "disappointed" at being presented with a cheque of "only" £500 is understating his position. He wondered whether it was an efficient use of his time to spend a whole evening being entertained by no doubt well meaning people for such a small amount.

I found the whole book revelatory, not only about how the day to day operation of an air ambulance works, but also the very real skill of the people involved. Before I read the book I little understood the difference between an "scoop and run" air transfer and a fully equipped Hems operation. Bleetman describes carrying out procedures normally left to the operating theatre, being done literally at the side of the road. Not least does he pay tribute to the pilots, putting the aircraft down in places that did not seem possible. Indeed the very titile of the book "You can't park there!" refers to an incident that caused some consternation with the ground officials, where the pilot chose a rather precarious position to land in order to make it easier to transfer the patient.

All that said, during his tenure at Coventry, the Ops Director was suddenly dismissed, because he finally ran the wrong people up the wrong way once too often. Perhaps in order to get the service running it needed a gritty, no-nonsense person lacking in inter-personal skills, but his style grated with people eventually.

I fear the TCAA is seen as a power grab within air ambulance circles.

These may be Dr Bleetman's words, not yours, but I find it strange to refer to people who give up their own time to raise funds as 'an embarrasment' (SIC)
Every little helps as they say.

It should be pointed out for clarity, all of the doctors onboard donated their time and skills freely. The aircrew were paid by the helicopter leasing company.

16th May 2013, 13:28
The Children's Air Ambulance has come in to service (see
Children?s Air Ambulance: Critically-ill baby saved thanks to first emergency helicopter for kids - Mirror Online (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/childrens-air-ambulance-critically-ill-baby-1891370#comments))

It has been a long haul and during that time much has been posted on earlier pages of this forum. In the meantime the work has been going on unabated to provide a bespoke,specifically equipped aircraft.

For those of you who still question the worth of 'The Children's', may I remind you that the 'Sheffield Report' in 1994 doubted the value of HEMS operations. Air Ambulances have come a long way since then.

Time will tell. Perhaps those who doubted will quietly judge the value of the new service over the course of the next year or so. In that time medical and operational evidence will have been gathered and analysed by the Paediatric Intensive Care clinicians and Retrieval teams. Only then can this matter can be discussed with knowledge, not opinion.

16th May 2013, 15:17
I personally have not and would not question the worth of such a service. Children's air ambulances in Australia and USA are incredibly successful. The fact remains there are too many questions and doubts about the methodology used to fund this service to the detriment of other air ambulance services which are just as important, and whether use of funds have always been appropriate to this point especially given the time taken to transport the first casualty from when fundraising began. :suspect:

16th May 2013, 20:02
Sorry chaps but this is not a critically ill baby. Period. We do have critically ill children for which air transportation has been shown to be beneficial but I hope they select their cases carefully in future.

As for the Sheffield Report bsbhe38, its findings discussed adult trauma - totally different. The conclusions were supported by the data and have never been disputed. No new data in the UK makes the findings outdated that I know of. Air ambulances responding to adult trauma are very high cost per life saved - this was discussed a few weeks ago on pprune. That doesnt mean they do not allow ambulance trusts meet government targets, nor does it ignore the fact that they may reduce pain and suffering from a long road journey, but the fact that we now have lots of them doesnt in itself indicate their efficacy or health economics.

I look forward to any new data on paediatrics, but please remember we have been flying babies in the UK since 1987. Perhaps we havent had the publicity of TAAS but we have been quietly getting on with it. We have produced national guidelines and published data. It certainly doesnt make financial sense but it does allow scarce neonatal facilities to be better used and to be available to more people.

206 jock
16th May 2013, 20:46
More here: First Patient Transfer | The Air Ambulance Service | TAAS (http://www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/about-us/our-news/charity-wide-news/first-patient-transfer). From the oracle, so to speak (and to be treated with caution)

So - bsbhe38 - assuming that you are close to the operation, a couple of questions from me (I'd guess you would call me a 'detractor', but happy to swallow my words):

- what's the reg of the new aircraft? I assume that TAAS have commissioned a stand-alone aircraft for this service (otherwise the cloud of suspicion may remain that TCAA is really a front to raise money country-wide to support/subvent the existing aircraft)
- It was a flight from Coventry to Scarborough, collecting a team in Sheffield on the way. Once at Scarborough, it flew the mission - a 15 min flight to Hull. Then presumably back to Coventry. What part of that service was deemed impossible for a more local air ambulance to cover?

Is Yorkshire still down an aircraft or two? Is this connected to the scrambling of the TCAA 'aircraft'?

Thomas coupling
16th May 2013, 21:23
bsbhe38 or whatever you call yourself. You are indeed a brave person coming on here and describing what can only be some non descript babble.
The question on everyone's tongue is this:

Why has it taken so long to stand up? Why does your CEO need such an enormous remuneration (and his wife) to run the charity?

Are you there....................................................... ..

17th May 2013, 13:16
As 206 Jock said, why couldn't a local air ambulance take on this job, and I would love to know if the TCAA gave E Flt 202 Sqn at Leconfield a call saying they were flying overhead enroute Scarb - Hull !

Is that baby unit/incubator part of TCAA or was it a 'carry on' from the hospital? Judging by the photo in Waypoint, it was a 'carry on', meaning any air asset could have been asked to assist in this life threatening case, possibly even from Carr Gate, Teeside or Sheffield who would have been most convenient for picking up the Embrace Team.

More details;
TCAA chalks up first child flight Waypoint AirMed and Rescue Magazine (http://www.waypointmagazine.com/story498)
Transport (Embrace) Yorkshire Neonatal Network (http://www.yorkshireneonet.nhs.uk/transport-embrace)

I love the comment;

UK child flight charity The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) has reported that it completed it’s first ever patient transport mission on 11 May,

TCAA pilots X and X took off in the Agusta 109 Grand at 09:25 hrs from Coventry Airport.
They collected the specialist medical team from Embrace headquarters (J37 M1) and travelled to Scarborough Hospital to pick up the patient, and then conducted a flight of just 15 minutes to Hull Royal Infirmary.

TCAA lead pilot X added: “We estimated that by road this journey would have taken over an hour. Our total flight time was only 15 minutes with the patient onboard. As we flew along, we could see congested roads and the difficulty a land ambulance would face, especially if it needed to travel in rush hour traffic. It’s cases like this where every minute can, and does, count.”

Every minute counts, despite taking over an hour to get somewhere in order to save an hour. Somewhere that other air assets are far closer. As for the rush hour traffic problem, 11 May was a Saturday :p

17th May 2013, 19:04
Ignoring the crass press report (the windpipe wasnt connected to the stomach because if it had been it would have been something called a TOF - a major abnormality!!!!) this child presumably had oesophageal atresia. We can see from the photos that he wasnt in an incubator at birth, wasnt on a ventilator and was at most on minimal oxygen. Why was he not moved by road ambulance????

A helicopter is beneficial for seriously ill neonates on ventilators and heart lung machines. It is also beneficial for older children with organ failure. BUT in the back of a noisy helicopter it is difficult to monitor breathing and listen to the heart. For less ill neonates like this a land ambulance is safer

I do hope this organisation gets some medical advice about tasking

17th May 2013, 23:00
knowing very little about this setup, and even less about medical issues for children, all I can see is that the naysayers all seem to be people already flying in similar roles. Worried they may have competition perhaps? ;) As for tasking a SAR S61 to do the job of a 109? Really?

Why not see how this operation runs for a while before knocking it? Maybe they will be very successful and hush the anti TCAA mob?

They've done one task, lets wait and see if they do many more over the coming months before criticising?

Pol Potty mouth
18th May 2013, 07:34
"As for tasking a SAR S61 to do the job of a 109? Really?"

Equally you might ask why you would want to go to the expense of funding a 109 at Coventry and then fly it all the way up to Scarborough for a simple transit to Hull when there was a SAR Sea King (and conventional air ambos?), for whom this sort of stuff is bread and butter tasking, sat up there doing nothing else at the time.

18th May 2013, 08:24
Instead of 'Cabotage' perhaps they should introduce a rule of 'AirAmboTage' to keep everyone happy?

At least the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the SAR assets were kept free though eh?

18th May 2013, 08:53

Your assumption is logical but misplaced. We do not make money out of these transfers, indeed we have to subsidise them because commonly the NHS can't or won't pay. I and many others have never asked for nor received any salary or remuneration.

I would be delighted to see others enter the game as long as they are medically beneficial. Unlike adult HEMS we have a lot of good research on the effects of rotary transportation on the neonate. We understand how to do it safely, it's benefits and risks. We have published national guidelines in the UK. We continue to press for these facilities to be available to all that need them, funded by central government as is the rest of their treatment as opposed to whether some charity has raised enough money. That goal will never be achieved if patients are moved who do not justify such expenditure, if patients come to harm, or if subsequent research rubbishes inter hospital rotary transportation because the system has failed to select properly.

I have never posted about the financial issues raised here. I would love to see a proper paediatric transfer system because these patients do need dedicated aircraft, dedicated equipment and dedicated staff. A military aircraft is nigh impossible to provide a safe environment to a neonate in an incubator due to noise, vibration, lack of dedicated equipment and specialised monitoring. My concern is that to date TAAS may not have helped the cause.

18th May 2013, 11:55
Helimutt;As for tasking a SAR S61 to do the job of a 109? Really?

So you see nothing wrong with a 'charity run' 109 flying for more than two and a half hours for a 15 min transfer, when 'E' Flight would have been in the air for 30 minutes for the same 15 minute transfer :confused:

Why not see how this operation runs for a while before knocking it?

One job in 6 months...how much longer would you like us to keep shtum?

18th May 2013, 17:40
My apologies, I was under the impression the aircraft is a dedicated fit for children, and carrying specialist medical teams for children only. Aso that it had only just recently started ops.

Personally I think its a good idea but I guess I need to go read up on the whole thing.
I'll go sit back under my palm tree. :oh:

12th Aug 2015, 22:34
Charity Commission finds failings in the Air Ambulance Service (http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/charity-commission-finds-failings-air-ambulance-service/governance/article/1359828)

(Mods - I've tried linking using the article's "share this article" function but it doesn't seem to work. If I'm in breach of their - or PPRuNe's - rules re linking/sharing, please would you remove the text below? Thanks)

Herewith the text from the above article:

The Charity Commission has concluded that there were serious governance failings at the Air Ambulance Charity after it ran a fundraising event that lost £111,000 and made a loan of £27,000 to its deputy chief executive.

A case report published by the commission today into charity, which runs air ambulance services covering Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland and the Children’s Air Ambulance, says that received complaints about the 2012 fundraising event, the loan - which the board was only told about after it was made - and a lack of oversight by the charity’s trustees.

The failed fundraising event in 2012 involved the charity buying up seats for the London premiere of The Bodyguard theatre production, which it hoped to sell to raise funds.

The commission said it found the event lost about £111,000 and concluded that it was "poorly planned and failed to apply proper project management methodology". The regulator also said the charity had failed to make adequate risk or due diligence assessments.

The trustees contended that while the event was unsuccessful in raising funds, it had helped to raise the charity’s profile and identify future donors.

"Nevertheless, we concluded that the processes in place for managing the event were significantly inadequate and that this amounted to a serious failure on the part of trustees," the commission said.

The regulator said that the legal basis for the £27,000 loan to a senior employee at the charity, who is not named in the commission’s report, was unclear. It said that the trustee board, which found out about the loan after it had been made by the charity’s chief executive and chair, were unable to provide evidence of any advice they had received on the loan.

The charity’s most recent accounts on the Charity Commission’s website, which cover 2013, say that Alexandra Pope, director of people and organisational management and deputy chief executive at the charity, received the loan to "secure her continuing employment".

The accounts say the loan, which is guaranteed by Andy Williamson, chief executive of the charity, accrues interest of 0.6 per cent per annum and is repayable over five years from June 2013.

The charity said it had phoned the regulator’s helpline to discuss the loan, but the commission said that the helpline only provides generic advice and if a charity required a formal view on an important decision it should put the request in writing.

"Charities may only apply funds in a way that helps them further their purposes for the public benefit and in the best interests of their beneficiaries," the regulator’s report said.

The commission also said that the trustees "did not exercise sufficient controls over the chief executive in relation to the two incidents" and that they appeared over-reliant on the chief executive and the chair, John Williams, who was not named in the report.

"This led to the serious incidents, including the failed fundraising event," the commission’s report said.

"We also established that the relationship between the chief executive and chair was such that they did not sufficiently involve the trustee board as a whole, instead making a strategic decision – namely concerning the loan to a staff member – that should have been for the board to make, between themselves. This amounted to a serious governance failure."

The regulator said it met the charity’s trustees and subsequently issued an action plan with which trustees were making good progress.

A spokesman for The Air Ambulance Service said of the failed fundraising event: "2012 was a record year for fundraising for TAAS and this was the only event not to make a profit in its own right, but it did serve as a useful profile-raising exercise and an opportunity to attract new supporters and volunteers on a long-term basis.

"TAAS now has in place an experienced fundraising team and a robust strategy to ensure each event is profitable in its own right."

He said the loan was a one-off and had been made to a "valuable employee facing unforeseen personal circumstances". It earned interest and came with a guarantor, so there was no financial risk to the charity, he said; it was made by the chair, chief executive and finance director with the approval of the charity’s finance committee.

The second paragraph seems to have several key words missing - perhaps proof-reading is a forgotten art at thirdsector.co.uk. However, the rest of the article provides a pretty clear picture of the Commission's findings.

13th Aug 2015, 15:02
Interesting reading, is this the same outfit that the BBC did an expose on, involving the chief hiring Strictly Come Dancing Cast to give lessons to his staff? Genuine question by the way, I don't know if it was them.
Edited, google is your friend, yes it was them, don't they ever learn.........


Luther Sebastian
24th Oct 2015, 09:45
They're advertising on telly now. Of course, they may have been doing this for a long time, and I don't watch much TV. It was on the True Drama channel at half-ten on a Saturday morning (today), and I wonder how much a slot costs.

Can't remember ever seeing a TV advert for any other AA outfit.