HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 cc431-3W
Mr. Truswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on when the research commissioned into the contribution made by air ambulances in the care and transportation of seriously ill patients will be completed; [28977]

(2) what methodology is being employed in the research he has commissioned into air ambulance services; [28975]

(3)whether the research he has commissioned into air ambulance services will include obtaining information about which services receive (a) staffing and (b) funding support from NHS bodies. [28974]

Ms Blears

The Department is commissioning a wide-ranging piece of primary research that will examine the role and effectiveness of air ambulance services in a modern national health service. The first stage is already under way and will provide an up to date review of existing research evidence. It is intended that the new primary research will be completed by the end of 2003.

There are currently 12 charitably funded air ambulance services operating in England. Those air ambulances are called out to emergencies by NHS ambulance trusts and generally staffed by NHS staff. Some NHS ambulance trusts are already meeting the salary costs of these staff and, from 1 April 2002, all NHS staff costs will be met from NHS funds.