TCAA & MAAC pour oil on troubled waters
UK helicopter emergency medical services charities The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) and Midlands Air Ambulance Charity (MAAC) issued a joint statement on 20 September that seeks to draw a line under controversy sparked in April this year by an article issued by MAAC. The article released in April questioned the need for a child-dedicated air ambulance.
UK helicopter emergency medical services charities The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) and Midlands Air Ambulance Charity (MAAC) issued a joint statement on 20 September that seeks to draw a line under controversy sparked in April this year by an article issued by MAAC. The article released in April questioned the need for a child-dedicated air ambulance, and whether money donated to TCAA or TAAS would ‘help a single child’ (see https://www.airmedandrescue.com/latest/news/maac-publicly-slams-childrens-service).
MAAC is one of a patchwork of charities across England and Wales; each largely restricts its fundraising to within its own, exclusive area of operations. The TCAA – since December 2011 part of The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS), which also incorporates Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance – has been raising funds nationwide in its bid to launch a dedicated helicopter for secondary paediatric transfers, leading to clashes with the local organisations.
The joint statement asserts that references made by the MAAC in its April article regarding the Charity Commission’s investigations into the TCAA in 2010 (before it was taken over by TAAS) should not have been read as suggesting ‘that TAAS was someway implicated in the history of TCAA or that TAAS has poor governance or management practices’. The Charity Commission ruled in February 2011 that literature promoting TCAA was misleading.
Regarding questions raised surrounding the need for a service such as that which TCAA hopes to provide, the new statement reads: “The parties to this statement agree that this is a legitimate question and that this is a complex issue.” The statement further notes that figures from the Air Ambulance Association (AAA) suggest ‘the average number of child transfers in each region nationally is between none and two per year’, but adds that the AAA’s members, which include MAAC but not TAAS or TCAA, ‘are not specialists in paediatric and neonatal transfers nor do they provide a dedicated service to this end’.
Furthermore, in clear contrast to the article released in April, the joint statement declares: “MAAC accepts that donations given to all of these charities will help children.” The statement concludes: “[MAAC, TAAS and TCAA] hope that businesses and the public will continue to give generously to all air ambulance charities."