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Air operations milestone is a ‘critical moment’ for air ambulance

Thames Valley Air Ambulance will mark Air Ambulance Week by celebrating its own ‘critical moment’ this week. By early November, the charity will have joined just five other air ambulances in bringing its air operations in-house, with an Air Operator Certificate.

In recognition of this, Thames Valley Air Ambulance is celebrating the milestone during Air Ambulance Week (5th-9th September) which focusses on the ‘critical moments and lifesaving difference’ the 21 air ambulances which operate in the UK make.

Our charity exists to make a lifesaving difference for whoever may need us, whenever they do. Every decision we make as a charity is for the good of the critically ill patients we help.

“This next step in our evolution as an independent healthcare provider was necessary to ensure we can continue to offer the absolute best care to the people we treat. They deserve the very best, in their moment of need.”

Amanda McLean, CEO at Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Bringing the aviation operations in-house means Thames Valley Air Ambulance will be directly and legally responsible for all aspects of their operating approvals, and for the compliance and safety of the flight operations and the associated aircraft airworthiness management of the aircraft. This will give the charity the power and flexibility to make decisions about the aircraft based on their own data and working to their own timelines.

The current helicopter, G-TVAL, will be returned to Babcock International at the end of the contract and the charity will then bring its own aircraft online. The replacement helicopter, G-TVLY, will be kitted out with the same lifesaving equipment we currently use, and operate from our operations base at RAF Benson. 

Having our own helicopter was part of Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s long-term strategy to ensure we are as patient-centred and efficient as we can be. I’m delighted to be able to make this announcement during Air Ambulance Week when we celebrate the real difference our lifesaving charities make for the communities we serve.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance receives no regular Government or National Lottery funding and operates as an independent healthcare provider. As a charity, the organisation relies on the generosity of its supporters to keep its helicopter in the skies, as well as five Critical Care Response Vehicles on the road.