Air Ambulances UK

Representing and advocating on behalf of our Members on key issues and Government policy

Air Ambulances UK works tirelessly on behalf of its Membership to represent and advocate the needs, requirements and views of air ambulance charities and the wider air ambulance sector.

We campaign and lobby on key issues to enable improvements in the delivery of air ambulance charity lifesaving pre-hospital care.

Much of our Policy work is focused on our All Party Parliamentary Working Group for Air Ambulances (APPGAA), an informal cross-party group that is run by and for Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Details of the next APPGAA meeting will be announced soon.


The key aims of our Policy work

Our Policy work has four key overall aims

  • Raise the quality of care and clinical and operational effectiveness of air ambulances for patients through engagement with political leaders and policy makers
  • Improve understanding of air operations and pre-hospital care in the UK in order continually to deliver a world-class service and improve patient outcomes
  • Promote good practice
  • Highlight issues and opportunities with key policy makers

Current key issues

The current key policy issues facing our Members are

  • Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme

    In 2016, it was planned that the replacement for all the emergency services radio networks would be launched to replace the current Airwave system that allows air to ground and ground to ground communications between emergency services. To date the project has been delayed with the transition of services estimated to be completed in late 2022

  • Helicopter Landing Sites

    Access to Helicopter Landing Facilities at Specialist Treatment Centres is inconsistent across the UK. Additionally, the introduction of night air operations realises the need for 24/7 accessibility to more approved night landing sites

  • Patient Data/Outcome Information and Risk Management support

    Requirements of a formal and funded national system to improve and standardise key areas of data collation to support with improving and enhancing patient care and risk management

  • Flight Time Limitations

    Flight Time Limitations (FTL’s) are being debated by EASA and the CAA, with the potential of a set maximum number of working hours being imposed on HEMS Crew Members.


Outcomes of our policy work

We have enjoyed great success in helping to shape, influence and lobby for change on Government policy which, enabling our Members to deliver an enhanced lifesaving service. These include the following examples

  • Aviation Fuel Vat Relief

    Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Spring Budget statement 2014 that aviation fuel for air ambulances would no longer be subject to VAT, bringing them in line with sea rescue services and saving charities thousands of pounds each year. The Finance Act 2015 added two new sections, to the VAT Act 1994 with effect from 1 April 2015, enabling the refund of VAT relating to non-business activities carried out by air ambulances, search and rescue charities, and medical courier charities.

  • £5,000,000 Air Ambulance Fund Announced

    The Autumn Statement 2014 announced £5m available to air ambulance charities from the Libor Charity Funding scheme. It was confirmed in early 2015 that the twenty air ambulance charities were to receive grants of £250,000 each to improve patient care locally and, increase availability and activities.

    Chancellor George Osborne said: “It is absolutely right that we use funds from those who demonstrated the worst values to reward those who demonstrate the best.”

  • Libor Grants

    Over a three-year period, air ambulance charities were collectively awarded LIBOR funding for individual projects at a local level such as purchasing of new aircraft, night time operations and development of new operating bases.

  • Lottery Limit

    In 2018, the amount that society lotteries could raise was subject to an annual sales limit of £10m. If this was not changed, our air ambulance charity Members running lotteries would need to limit their recruitment of new members, restricting a major source of fundraising income. The alternative would be to take out an additional licence and restructure their existing lottery, incurring unnecessary expense. We were successful in working with the APPGGA to have the limit increased.

  • Covid-19 Grant

    Air Ambulances UK secured £6million from the Department of Health and Social Care in May 2020 to support the lifesaving work of the UK’s air ambulance charities in the vital role they have in supporting the frontline response to Covid-19 whilst continuing to save lives in their local communities.

    The grant was awarded in response to air ambulance charities experiencing a drop in fundraising income whilst incurring increased expenditure associated with providing frontline support to hospitals trusts and regional ambulance services to care for Covid-19 patients and ensuring effective infection control measures were implemented.

Who to contact

Involvement in our Government Policy Programme is available as a benefit of Membership.

If you, your business or organisation is interested in our policy work, please get in touch to learn more about becoming a Member today.

Emma Carter

Head of Fundraising and Sustainability

Become a Member and get involved in our vital policy work; supporting, representing and advocating the lifesaving work of the UK’s air ambulance charities