Joint Statement by MAAC, TCAA & TAAS
On 18 April 2012 Midlands Air Ambulance Charity (MAAC) published an article and a Notice to editors (the Notice) with respect to The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS) and The Children's Air Ambulance (TCAA).
The Notice was not intended to cause any misunderstanding in relation to the good work undertaken by TAAS and TCAA. It was intended to clarify to the press and the public that MAAC is not associated with TAAS and TCAA.
The Notice made reference to the investigation by the Charity Commission into TCAA (under its old governance) in 2010 and some of the negative findings made in the Report. TCAA was taken over by the TAAS at the end of 2011. The Notice did not suggest, nor should it have been read as suggesting, that TAAS was someway implicated in the history of TCAA or that TAAS has poor governance and management practices. TAAS's position is that it is a reputable and respectable charity and there is no reason to suggest that TCAA's former problems will be repeated now its governance is fully under the control of TAAS.
The Notice also raised the question of whether there is a need for a specialist service such as that envisaged by TCAA. The parties to this statement agree that this is a legitimate question and that it is a complex issue. As the Notice stated, "Figures gathered by the Air Ambulance Association (AAA) suggest the average number of child transfers in each region nationally is between none and two per year." However, TAAS points out that the AAA does not in its data conclude that an air ambulance service for children is not required. Members of the AAA are not specialists in paediatric and neonatal transfers nor do they provide a dedicated service to this end. In fact, there are typically 5,800 transfers per year of children by land vehicles and around 200 by air, which is serviced by private providers and the RAF given the unique requirements of this work.
Thus on the one hand there is a body of professional opinion, including the Paediatric Intensive Care Society Aeromedical Group working group, TCAA and TAAS, that believes the need for better access to an air ambulance service for children will be best achieved by a dedicated service, and on the other hand, there is another body of professional opinion, which includes MAAC, that does not consider such a specialist service is necessary and which provides the service to all regardless of age.
TAAS' existing helicopter emergency services have helped save many children across the years, in the same way as MAAC's own service has done. Although TCAA does not own or lease any air ambulance, it has now made it clear that funds are being sought from TCAA for child rescues. Therefore MAAC accepts that donations given to all of these charities will help children.
In conclusion, MAAC, TAAS and TCAA all passionately support the provision of air ambulance services, and while there are different views as to the most effective means of provision of these services, they hope that businesses and the public will continue to give generously to all air ambulance charities.