New flying doctor service will be second class
It is a great disappointment to me that the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) charity has chosen to separate from the joint operation with Magpas and set up a competing service.
I AM the volunteer unpaid medical director of the emergency medical charity Magpas and a consultant in accident and emergency medicine.
It is a great disappointment to me that the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) charity has chosen to separate from the joint operation with Magpas and set up a competing service in Cambridge (The Hunts Post, November 3).
Whatever the rationale for the decision, I am even more disappointed that they appear to mislead the public in their efforts to justify their actions.
In your article Mr Whitby is quoted as saying: “The service will be a match of the service Magpas has provided.” This is simply not the case. The private company retained by EAAA is not required to provide the same level of clinical expertise, the same hours of availability or the same geographical response capabilities as the current Magpas Helimedix service.
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EAAA also says its actions will not affect the level of service provided across the county. This is also incorrect.
Current ambulance service statistics will reveal that Magpas Helimedix is the most often available, most consistently staffed, most frequently utilized and most widely deployed service in our region.
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A competing service in Cambridge will not be able to respond as widely or quickly. We should know – we were based in Cambridge for 25 years before moving to Wyton to be more central in the county.
Many people have asked me why EAAA has chosen to take this course of action. My personal view is that they simply don’t appear to share our cultural, moral and ethical values.
Magpas has supported the EAAA since its inception. We have provided staff, equipment and training. We have sustained a highly-effective joint clinical service – despite many challenges. And, most importantly, we have saved lives.
We do not seek self-aggrandisement. We do not seek to make profits for helicopter operators and private medical companies. We do not seek to perpetuate our service for its own sake. Instead, we simply seek to support the NHS and provide high-quality, safe and effective pre-hospital emergency medical care to those in most need.
Doctors have a duty to make the care of patients their first concern. That’s what Magpas has done for nearly 40 years and that’s what we, with the support of your readers, will continue to do for as long as we are needed.
Dr ROD MACKENZIE