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Air ambulance boosted by merger

PUBLISHED: 10:37 13 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:52 05 July 2010

East Anglia's pioneering air ambulance service is in line for a boost following an agreement to join forces with another regional medical charity.

Talks between the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and Cambridgeshire-based Magpas have resulted in a planned merger in a bid to create the UK's "most advanced emergency care service", according to organisers of both charities.

East Anglia's pioneering air ambulance service is in line for a boost following an agreement to join forces with another regional medical charity.

Talks between the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and Cambridgeshire-based Magpas have resulted in a planned merger in a bid to create the UK's “most advanced emergency care service”, according to organisers of both charities.

The organisations both already provide life-saving services in the region and have been sharing resources and expertise in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire since last September 2007.

Magpas provides emergency situation training as well as skilled doctor and paramedic teams who have been manning Anglia Two, the EAAA's second emergency helicopter in the two counties, while Anglia One has continued serving Norfolk and Suffolk.

Now that arrangement is to be formalised and it also means Norfolk and Suffolk could soon be benefiting from Magpas volunteer doctors in addition to its own.

Simon Gray, executive director of the EAAA, said the merger will also help both charities to respond more quickly to changing NHS demands for health provision across the region and boost fundraising potential.

“We used to compete for funding, which was daft, it makes far more sense to do it jointly and not rob each others' pockets. Overheads will also be driven down even further hopefully and the merger will just strengthen us.

“It will mean health professionals across the region will be working together for the common good of the region.”

Plans are at an early stage and both charities will now be working closely together to understand each other's operations in more detail to maximize the merger's benefits and overcome any potential difficulties, he said.

They will also consult extensively with their respective staff, supporters, stakeholders and legislative bodies.

Mr Gray said: “We are excited about the opportunity this merger offers to give people in our region the highest standard of emergency medical care in the country. There is already so much synergy between the two charities and we also see an opportunity to share experience and best practice.”

“Both charities are already highly respected in their field so it's important that we take time to consider how best to integrate our organisations by consulting those who help and support us.”

Ian Brooke, chief executive of Magpas, said: “The new charity that results from this merger will be fantastic for our region. The East Anglian Air Ambulance is widely regarded as one of the leading operations of its kind and Magpas's level of clinical excellence has lead to it becoming the only charity of its kind in the UK to achieve independent healthcare provider status.

“When you combine two beacons of excellence in this way, the result will not only benefit our region but will also provide a service that will set the standard for the rest of the UK to follow.”

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