HC Deb 13 February 2001 vol 363 c74W
Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many air ambulance services are provided in England; and how each of them are funded; [149781]

(2) what representations he has received about provision of air ambulance services during the last 12 months; [149782]

(3) what plans he has for the provision of air ambulance services within the NHS; [149783]

Ms Stuart

We recognise that air ambulance services have a role in delivering emergency care especially in rural areas and where road access is a problem. The services can be an effective way of getting better and faster access to hospital, and valuable in supporting inter-hospital transfers.

Information on the number and funding of air ambulances is not collected centrally.

During the last 12 months the Department has received letters from the general public and hon. Members asking whether the National Health Service should provide and fund air ambulance services.

Evidence supporting the introduction of air ambulances in the NHS, however is not convincing. In 1995, the Department commissioned Sheffield university to report on air ambulances. The report failed to show benefits which would justify NHS investment.

This lack of evidence to support the clinical or cost-effectiveness of these services does not support the funding of these services by the NHS. However, we will constantly review the position.