Shropshire Star

MP asks NHS to consider helping pay for air ambulance charity's services

A Shropshire MP is calling on health leaders to help fund the work of the air ambulance service based in the county.

Mark Pritchard MP, left, at Midlands Air Ambulance HQ near Shifnal earlier this month

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard visited the new Midlands Air Ambulance airbase and charity headquarters near Shifnal on Friday and has picked up the issue after speaking to the charity's chief executive.

Following his conversation with Midlands Air Ambulance Charity chief executive Hanna Sebright, Mr Pritchard has written to Simon Whitehouse, chief executive of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB), to ask if the body will consider providing financial support to the charity.

Mark Pritchard said: “Midlands Air Ambulance has confirmed to me that charitable donations will continue to be its main source of funding.

"However, as a result of the increased demand on its services, the charity would clearly benefit from funding by the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin ICB.

"I understand that some ICBs in other parts of the country make a financial contribution to their local air ambulance services, so I hope local ICB will do the same.”

The air ambulance charity serves Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

It responds to 4,500 missions per year. According to the charity, the average mission cost using a helicopter is £2,950 and the average mission cost using a critical care car is £288. The charity relies on donations to fund its work.

Mr Pritchard said Midlands Air Ambulance had reported dealing with increased complexity of patient needs requiring specialist skills and medicines, including injuries from incidents involving stabbings and shootings.

Furthermore, the charity says that the population of the area served by the charity has risen by three per cent since 2020, leading to a bigger need for pre-hospital care.

Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin NHS Integrated Care Board has been asked for comment.