Left: Stephen Metcalfe, Conservative MP. Centre: Simmy Akhtar, Air Ambulances UK CEO. Right: John Christensen Air Ambulances UK Trustee & Vice Chair.

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 air ambulance crews.

Over 70 members of parliament attended the event held on 7 March. The reception was organised by Air Ambulances UK, the national charity supporting the lifesaving work of the UK’s 21 air ambulance charities.

Stephen Metcalfe, Conservative MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock opened the event followed by Simmy Akhtar, Air Ambulances UK CEO, and key speaker, Paul Dilley. Paul from Cookham in Berkshire, collapsed whilst playing golf in Milton Keynes. Thames Valley Air Ambulance reached the golf course (which was 30 miles away from the base at RAF Benson) in 16 minutes. Paul’s heart, failed in every way possible, he had multiple cardiac arrests. Thirteen defibrillator shocks were administered by Thames Valley Air Ambulance on route to the hospital, as the crew fought to save his life. Paul has defied the odds of survival and following doctors operating on a blood clot blocking his heart, he has made a remarkable recovery and is back at work full-time.

Key Speaker: Paul Dilley

The reception aimed to raise matters of importance and priorities of the sector through engagement with political leaders and policy makers on key issues that relate to air ambulance charities lifesaving services.

The key issues and challenges raised at the reception were:

  • Increased demand and Increased costs
  • Safe Access to Patient Data
  • Access to and engagement about Helipads and landing sites

Simmy Akhtar, Air Ambulances UK CEO said “We were delighted to host the Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons forthe first time since 2019 due to the impact of Covid-19. It was wonderful to see so many parliamentarians attend to support the lifesaving work of air ambulance charities. It demonstrates MPs and Ministers regard for the air ambulance community and the vital role that the sector plays in the Urgent and Emergency Care System.Thank you to all those who attended and we look forward to working with key stakeholders on key challenges and issues facing our sector”