New air ambulance contract signed

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Trustees of the Cornwall Air Ambulance have signed a contract which will see a new helicopter operator providing the service from December 2014.

Following a competitive tender process, Medical Aviation Services (MAS) was selected ahead of the other two companies shortlisted, including the existing operator, Bond Air Services.

(l-r): Ian Brackenbury (Trustee)  Lady Mary Holborow (Chairman) Henk Schaeken (MD MAS) with Andrew Bell (Vice Chairman) standing, sign the contract that will see two new air ambulances serving Cornwall from December 2014
(l-r): Ian Brackenbury (Trustee), Andrew Bell (Vice Chairman), Lady Mary Holborow (Chairman), Henk Schaeken (MD MAS) sign the contract that will see two new air ambulances serving Cornwall from December 2014

The new deal will see MAS operating two helicopters for the charity to cope with demand and provide a dedicated back up service.

Chief executive for Cornwall Air Ambulance, Paula Martin, said: “We have worked very closely with our paramedic team and the South Western Ambulance Service.

“The new aircraft will provide the crew and patients conveyed to hospital with increased cabin space.

“In addition the helicopter can carry more weight and fly further than our current aircraft, all of which will help us improve our service delivery in the future.

“In 2012, European rules allowing air ambulances to operate nighttime missions were adopted in the UK.

“We are delighted to say that both of the new Cornwall Air Ambulances will have this capability in the future.”

The move to a new operator marks the end of 27 years of the operator relationship between the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust and Bond Air Services.

Martin added: “I don’t think as a trust we have had to make a more difficult decision, but the creativity of the bid by Medical Aviation Services won the day.

“As a charity, we must be able to demonstrate to our donors and beneficiaries that we deliver both quality and value for money.”