Midlands Air Ambulance Charity: Saving Lives by Saving Time
Over two decades ago, on May 21st 1991, a handful of people formally launched a new air ambulance called ‘Air 5’ in Worcestershire. The service, is now known as ‘Midlands Air Ambulance’ and was founded as there was a significant need for a rapid response paramedic service enabling critically injured people in the Midlands to get to the most appropriate hospital in a short space of time.
The new air service was one of the first of its kind in the UK and with just one helicopter, it was operational five days a week. Since then, their service has significantly grown Hanna Sebright is the chief executive of this air ambulance organisation, which happens to be one one of the busiest in the UK. Since flying its first mission in 1991, the Charity now responds to an average of 3,000 missions each year making Midlands Air Ambulance one of the longest established and busiest air ambulance operators in the UK. “Our three Midlands Air Ambulance helicopters have responded to over 40,000 missions to date, saving countless lives in the six Midlands counties we serve”, says Hanna Sebright.Rotornation had the chance to ask couple questions to Hanna about the organisation.
How many pilots are working for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity? And how many employees in total?
Our pilots are contracted to Midlands Air Ambulance Charity from our aviation partners, Bond Air Services, and although they’re not directly employed by Midlands Air Ambulance, they’re still very much part of our team. We have over 40 paramedics and doctors seconded from West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and 26 members of staff working at our charity HQ, demonstrating just how far we have come as an organisation.
If you could describe the pilots, air crew, paramedics, etc. and their involvement to the cause, how would you describe it?
Patient care is of paramount importance at Midlands Air Ambulance and we are extremely lucky to have such a dedicated and professional group of paramedics, doctors and pilots working with our service. The members of our aircrew are obviously critical to our operation, and this includes our pilots who enable our paramedics and doctors to reach the scene of an accident within a matter of minutes.
We would like to hear about typical day for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. What does it look like?
There is no typical day at Midlands Air Ambulance! On average our three air ambulance helicopters airlift ten people a day, but the range of incidents we attend is vast. From road traffic collisions, sporting injuries and horse riding falls, to industrial and agricultural accidents and heart attacks, each patient’s condition is different and our aircrews have to work in some very difficult situations.
Is there any event or project that you participated in that was really cool for any specific reason?
Aside from the day to day life-saving work of our aircrews, we often get asked to participate in filming projects for TV shows. It’s always great to see the finished film, watching our helicopters and aircrews in action reinforces why we do what we do.
Where do you see Midlands Air Ambulance Charity in 10 years?
As a very progressive air ambulance charity, we have just purchased our first EC135T2e helicopter wholly out of reserves, which will replace one of the three helicopters we lease from Bond Air Services. We have lots of other exciting plans for the future.
What is the hardest thing when it comes to running Midlands Air Ambulance Charity?
The level of diversity involved is certainly one of the most challenging aspects to running the charity. Not only do we start with zero funds and need to raise £6.5 million (10.96 million U.S. dollars) each year, but we are a leading provider of emergency pre-hospital care and an aviation company with a fleet of three helicopters. Managing these extremely diverse functions as well as finance, HR and a back office administration team is an extremely challenging, yet rewarding role.
“I am enormously proud to be CEO of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, it’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had in my life. This is an incredibly popular charity and knowing that what you do makes such a difference to someone’s life is motivation in itself.” – Hanna Sebright