11 APR 2014
Jack has met the John Christensen, the Chief Executive of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity recently to discuss help that he can give with an application they have made to the Government for future funding. Jack was also pleased to tell him that he will be running the Bristol Half Marathon in September on behalf of the Air Ambulance Charity.
In his recent budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, announced that some of the fines imposed on financial institutions in the wake of the Libor rate fixing scandal were to be used to support the UKs range of Air Ambulance's. Following this announcement, the Great Western Air Ambulance applied to the Government for £1 million of funding to support its day to day operations in the west of England.
The GWAA operates from a base within Jack's constituency at Filton, and covers the former Avon area, Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire, a region that contains 2.1 million people. They provide 4,500 hours of consultant cover a year that is not funded by the NHS and 1 in 5 critically ill people survive as a result of the use of the Air Ambulance.
'I was delighted with the Chancellor's announcement that Libor fines would be used to support the country's network of Air Ambulances' commented Jack after the meeting. 'I am also pleased with his announcement that they will be able to get relief from VAT levied on aviation fuel. I fully support GWAACs application and I would like to discuss it with Mr Osborne to
express my support and press the case for the money to be granted.'
At the meeting the charity told Jack of the factors affecting its performance. It is currently operating an aging air ambulance
that has limited capacity and the GWAAC would like to be able to replace this with money raised from supporters. At present all of their income comes from donations, 40% of their doctors hours also coming from voluntary sources. A successful application to the Government will make their long term financial position much more sustainable.
'I have visited the Great Western Air Ambulance base at Filton in my constituency. Talking to their staff brought home to me the fantastic work they do across the Bristol area. I am also acutely aware of the limitations put on them by the equipment they have to use. I am also aware that the current helicopter cannot land on the soon to be opened elevated helipad at
the Bristol Royal Infirmary. I am pleased that they have made the application and I will do everything I can to ensure they are successful. I will ask Mr Osborne to meet volunteers and representatives from GWAA to hear about the work they do and to discuss how he can help them.'
Jack said 'I am really looking forward to running the Bristol Half Marathon later in the year, and knowing that I am doing it for
such a worthy cause will make it just that little bit easier to get round! I couldn't run it last year for health reasons but it is such a great day and I will enjoy getting round again.