The robust plans were approved by Shropshire Council late January. The charity’s Board of Trustees gave final approval of the plans in February and work is expected to start on site this spring.
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity joins the growing number of air ambulance organizations who have identified the need to develop a purpose-built facility in order to ensure clinical and non-clinical working environments are futureproofed, with approximately 50 per cent of the 21 organizations undertaking a similar vital capital project.
The charity’s new airbase and headquarters will help to address a number of challenges facing the service. These include the annual rising demand for advanced patient care on scene, the increased complexity of patient needs requiring specialist skills, medicines and equipment, and the fact there is insufficient training facilities for the critical care paramedics and pre-hospital emergency medicine doctors at the current facilities.
Part of the build project is a clinical training simulation
In order to face these challenges head on and ensure the service is futureproofed for decades to come, as part of the build project, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity will create a clinical training simulation suite.
Hanna Sebright, Chief Executive for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: “Over our 30-year history, our charity has been driven by a commitment to continuously improve advanced pre-hospital patient care across the Midlands.
“We consider our new airbase and charity headquarters to be a vital development for the whole of the region. The new facility, located in Cosford, Shropshire, will feature clinical training facilities, which are fundamental to delivering the advanced training programmes required for our clinicians. This will ensure the critical care team are equipped to treat the increasingly complex patient cases and will enhance our daily lifesaving service.”
A substantial benefit for the public
A report by Planning Officer Richard Fortune at Shropshire Council, who supported the plans, states: “There is substantial public benefit from the provision of this service and the case presented amounts to very special circumstances sufficient to justify this proposal.”
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has been working with architects Box Development to design the facility, and planning and development consultancy Turley to secure planning permission from Shropshire Council. Initial groundwork will start on site this spring, and the site is expected to be completed late 2022. The new facility will complement the charity’s existing air ambulance-led service across the six Midlands counties.
Initial funding for the new development has been facilitated via major grants from organizations such as the Department for Health and Social Care and the HELP Appeal. In addition, the charity will use a proportion of its modest reserves and undertake specific fundraising campaigns for areas of the new airbase, including the clinical simulation training suite, memory garden and community education zone.