Sunday, 19 May 2024
Sunday, 19 May 2024

Air Ambulances UK hosts parliamentary reception at the House of Commons

A special parliamentary reception was held at the House of Commons this week which attracted support from key political figures to raise awareness of the lifesaving work of the UK’s Air Ambulance charities. 

More than 50 Members of Parliament were present at the gathering recently. The event was organised by Air Ambulances UK (AAUK), the national charity supporting the lifesaving work of the UK’s 21 Air Ambulance charities.

Pete Wishart, Member of Parliament for the Scottish National Party and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Air Ambulances (APPGAA) opened the reception followed by Helen Whately MP who addressed the sector as Minister of State in the DHSC. Patrick Peal MBE DL, newly-appointed Chair of Air Ambulances UK, spoke of his commitment to the sector, followed by Simmy Akhtar, Air Ambulances UK CEO, who highlighted the key challenges detailed in the General Election Manifesto. Finally, Niky Crooks shared a compelling patient story about her daughter Jasmine.

On October 31st, 2019, Niky and Ryan faced a terrifying ordeal when their four-year-old daughter, Jasmine, stopped breathing and needed urgent medical attention. The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s Critical Care Team responded swiftly, administering emergency care on the scene before airlifting Jasmine to Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital. Niky expressed immense gratitude for the team’s expertise and reassurance during the crisis. Jasmine was diagnosed with a rare syndrome called ROHHAD that affects the autonomic nervous system and spent nearly two months in the hospital, displaying remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. To watch and listen to Jasmine’s full story please click here.

The reception served as a platform to highlight critical issues and priorities within the sector, engaging political leaders and policymakers in discussions on matters pivotal to the life-saving services provided by Air Ambulance charities.

The key issues and challenges raised at the reception were:

  • Access to, and Safeguarding of, Hospital Helipads and Community Landing Sites
  • Safe Access to Patient Data
  • Increased Demand and Increased Cost
  • Statutory Levy for Lotteries

Simmy Akhtar, Air Ambulances UK CEO, said:

“We are honoured to once again convene the Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons. The strong turnout of parliamentarians highlights their continued support for the specialist lifesaving care provided by Air Ambulance charities. It reaffirms their recognition of the indispensable role of the air ambulance community, which is in the main funded by the generosity of constituents across the UK. We extend our gratitude to all attendees and remain committed to collaborating with key stakeholders to address the ongoing challenges and priorities within our sector.”

Patrick Peal MBE DL, Chair of Air Ambulances UK, said:

“The air ambulance community recognises the importance and value of the Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons and the participation from so many parliamentarians reflects their backing for the vital work of the UK’s Air Ambulance charities. We thank all attendees and are committed to strengthening our role as a trusted partner working closely with key stakeholders to address the evolving needs and priorities of the Air Ambulance community.”

Pete Wishart MP, APPGAA Chair, said:

“The gathering at the House of Commons for the Air Ambulances Parliamentary Reception serves as a reminder of the crucial role played by Air Ambulance charities across the UK. With a strong presence from Members of Parliament, this event highlights our collective commitment to supporting and promoting the lifesaving work of the UK’s Air Ambulance charities. I would like to thank all who attended and emphasise my dedication to addressing the pressing needs and priorities within the Air Ambulance sector.”

To find out more about Air Ambulances UK, please click here.


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