Author Topic: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire  (Read 7102 times)

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Offline mickeyl

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Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« on: May 08, 2008, 08:08:05 pm »
Brookmans Park resident MP Grant Shapps and Welwyn Hatfield Times editor Terry Mitchinson will be raising money towards the purchase and start-up of an air ambulance for Hertfordshire on a sponsored walk on Sunday 11th May

Details of this can be seen on web-site  http://www.shapps.com/forum/index.php?topic=3218.0

This could become a real life-saver particularly once the QE2 A&E shifts to the Lister Hospital on the north side of Stevenage
« Last Edit: May 08, 2008, 10:58:02 pm by mickeyl »
 

Offline PS

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2008, 08:15:21 pm »
Mickeyl - can you advise on the following - is the 250,000 pounds sterling cost for the helicopter the CAPITAL expenditure only ? What the operating costs of this aircraft to run annually ? What happens at the end of its useful life [ie replacement ?] It sounds a good idea, but has anyone costed this out over say "X" years to see what the REAL cost will be and how are these funds to be obtained ? My main concern, is that it does'nt become a White Elephant.   
 

Offline mickeyl

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2008, 08:19:51 pm »
Regret I am unable to answer your question

Suggest you log onto the WH Forum via the web-site quoted - Registering if necessary, and ask the question there

I have sponsored Grant in the walk - actions speak louder than words etc
 

Offline PS

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2008, 08:36:15 pm »
Mickeyl - I have no problem with your statement - "actions speak louder then words" - very commendable indeed. However, the point I raise is very valid - many a do-gooder rush into situations and throw money into something that does not become sustainable for even the medium term. I just hope that Grant Shapps has thought about this and that he does not end up with something that he cannot handle, when the public perception, looking forward, is that "...yet another service has been cut ..." - without fully realising it was a voluntary gesture on behalf of the public. Let's face it, we've all seen this before. Nevertheless, good luck on the walk.
 

John_fraser

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2008, 09:06:02 pm »
How many normally ambulances could be bought and run for the cost of one air ambulance? I've always wondered if these made sense or were just a prestige item.
 

Offline Grant Shapps MP

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2008, 09:38:08 pm »
Hi all,

The best place to seek answers to the questions are via the Herts Air Ambulance Appeal website which is at:
http://www.hertsairambulance.org.uk/

Air ambulances are a well established feature of local emergency care throughout the rest of the country, because Herts was one of only two counties without cover from a helicopter, until the Essex one started flying here after the initial 50k had been raised.

When the appeal hits 250k (and it's getting very close) then Herts will have its own machine. I believe it will cost c50k per annum to run, but that's a figure that should be checked with the Herts Air Ambulance Appeal for total accuracy.

The NHS does NOT fund air ambulances at all, so it's all down to local contributions. Again, I think it's surprising that Herts hasn't managed this until now and am pleased to see that change.

There's a discussion about whether central govt should contribute at http://www.shapps.com/forum/index.php?topic=3218.0

All I can say is that helicopters can reach the soon to be more distant A&E out at Lister at greater speed than a traditional ambulance, so although this is a Herts wide appeal, I think it has particular significance for Welwyn Hatfield residents like us.

Grant.

 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2008, 10:20:58 am »
A major concern expressed by local residents about transfering hospital services from the QE2 to Stevenage was the traffic jams on the A1(M).  An air ambulance would overcome that problem for urgent cases.

Like PS, I am also puzzled at the financial arrangements and must check out the air ambulance website.  Obviously the type of helicopter used will not cost as much as Prince William's joy rides in a Chinook to the Isle of Wight etc (silly sod - what was the RAF thinking of?), but it is still a very expensive form of transport. 

We have some helicopter owners in this area.  Perhaps they might like to enlighten us on costs.

John_fraser

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2008, 12:00:35 pm »
That web site starts with the assumption that an air ambulance is a good idea and doesn't question it. It does say that a helicopter service costs approximately 960k a year to run, but no indication on how much an ordinary ambulance costs, nor how much more effective it would be.
 

Offline PS

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2008, 01:38:30 pm »
What John Fraser says is a worry. I have'nt substantiated the costs but if such a service does cost 960k, and if Grant Shapps says that "...its all down to local contributions...", then I see an enormous white elephant developing here!!! Has this venture been properly thought out is the question I have.
 

Offline Mary_Morgan

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2008, 02:07:27 pm »
I quote from the Cornwall Air Ambulance website

"Cost effective; despite costing some seven times more to operate in a county like Cornwall, the Air Ambulance can arguably provide the equivalent cover of double that number of conventional ambulance vehicles."

I do not know if the differences of terrain, roads, etc between Hertfordshire and Cornwall would make a difference to this.

Most, if not all, air ambulances are charities and their accounts can be found on the Charity Commission website if someone wants to do some research on the costs.

I think it is a great idea.   I shall now move my allegiance and donations from Cornwall (4 of my friends have benefitted from that air ambulance) to Hertfordshire.

Mary

 

Offline PS

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2008, 02:33:59 pm »
Mary - I have no problem with them as well. They are a great idea. However, the question that STILL remains is how are the Opex costs to be raised ? The unfortunate fact of life is that you cannot consistently ask members of the public for donations all the time. especially if it does cost as much as 960k per annum. What with all the high inflationary pressures in our economy et al, people will after a time simply not be able to contribute. And if donations start to cease then the service stops. And we end up with selling the Helicopter for next to nothing, or it simply lies dormant, rotting away.

I am a firm believer that if you venture into projects of this nature, then a full cost plan going forward needs to be evaluated ie where is the money coming from to maintain the service. I simplky cannot see that such a level of cost can be conceivably met with public donations alone.

On a personal basis, if this venture was conceived as working, then someone should have the facts and figures to hand.

Imagine running a company with a budget and "hope" that somehow you still remain in business a year or two later. It would'nt make commercial sense.
 

Offline mickeyl

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2008, 05:38:01 pm »
Several other counties have been able to continue to fund air ambulances.

Without any doubt with the major reduction in acute hospitals in Hertfordshire, this service will save lives.

On a give or take basis an annual 960K budget comes down to around one pound sterling per person per year in Hertfordshire. That seems to be very good value which I would happily commit to. Compare that to say 400 per annum [approx] for a SkyTV subscription
 

Offline Mary_Morgan

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2008, 07:01:20 pm »
As Mikey says, other air ambulances have survived, Cornwall, the first, has now been running for about 21 years. 

PS - Hertfordshire is not being started from totally nothing as Cornwall did.  As far as I can see from searching on the internet, it is being set up as an addition to the existing Essex (Herts & Essex Air Ambulance Trust) . 

Charitable donations are personal, but I do not believe that if the people of Hertfordshire see a need they will  not contribute as other counties have to their air ambulances. 

I do not suppose anyone has set up a charitable foundation without an element of risk - will people donate.  It takes a few brave and industrious people with a marketing bent to do it.    Did Bob & Megs think too much about number crunching before they set up the Willow - I doubt it.  They did it because they wanted to.

Whilst I do think air ambulance should be provided by the NHS/government, they are not and I certainly wish this initiative the very best.

Mary

 

Offline jet

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2008, 08:09:52 pm »
People seem to missing the main reasons for an air ambulance. The main reasons are to provide a service where the population is low/hospitals are scarce/roads are blocked and the terrain difficult for road ambulances to get to.
That said its also a fact that quick treatment of certain conditions can make all the difference.
It is an absolute disgrace that air ambulances and the air sea rescue/lifeboat services are maintained by volunteers and charity.
Surely the savings in extended treatment costs incured by conditions that worsen in time alone would recover such costs if they were government funded.
If people wish to contribute to such a thing then I think they are to be supported.
Only misgiving is as to who decides wether someone is in need of the service or not.
 

Offline PS

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2008, 08:28:23 am »
Mickeyl - only one pound per person per annum. You may well be right. Believe me, I support charity big time [being a FM] and I hear the same sentiments whether supporting a cancer support charity, old peoples charities et al. If the choice was contained to one charity and one only, the process would become simpler and very likely to succeed. I know from raising funds for charities, that you tend to have a good "spurt" upfront, but then it declines. If the cost was say a tenth of the 960k per annum stated, then its more likely to suceed, but nearly a Million per annum [AND likely to rise] its highly unsustainable in the longer term.
I would love to be proved wrong, but experience has taught me that I see this as a very high risk venture. Give it until the end of 2009 and lets see what happens, but don't hold your breath.
 
 

Offline Ross

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2008, 04:03:45 pm »
The London air ambulance which runs out of royal London hospital in Whitechapel is sponsored by Virgin, and has virgin splashed all over it. Maybe an idea to try and find some major corporate sponsors.
Regards
Ross
 

Offline peppermint

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2008, 10:21:16 am »
How about approaching Tesco.   They are based in Hertfordshire.
 

Offline Ross

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Re: Air Ambulance for Hertfordshire
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2008, 12:03:16 pm »
Very good idea, If you look on the london air ambulance http://www.londonsairambulance.com website there is a good insight to the sort of work they do to raise funds.
Regards
Ross
 

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