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Controversy Surrounds Proposed Air Ambulance Base Closures in the UK


Supporters of the Wales Air Ambulance have voiced their concerns over potential base closures, threatening to withhold donations if the controversial move proceeds. The proposal, part of a review, suggests relocating helicopters from Welshpool, Powys, and Caernarfon, Gwynedd, to Rhuddlan in Denbighshire. The charity asserts that such a shift would optimize service coverage, allowing it to respond to 139 additional calls annually.

The Locals are Not Happy About the Air Ambulance Charity’s Decision

Residents, like one from a nearby area, who has helped raise £110,000 for the charity, expressed reservations about the proposed changes. She mentioned that while she previously supported the cause, she now hesitates due to the potential impact on her community.

Of the four Air Ambulance bases, two are situated in Cardiff and Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. Locals in mid-Wales emphasize the importance of their base, citing the rural nature of their region and the critical need for immediate medical response.

During public engagement sessions, concerns emerged regarding potential decreases in donations and service destabilization if bases were to close. Some residents argued that moving the service to north Wales would diminish their enthusiasm for contributing, highlighting the importance of a local connection.

What is the Air Ambulance Charity Saying?

Stephen Harrhy, the chief ambulance services commissioner for Wales, emphasized that experts are guiding the review process, prioritizing optimal flying conditions for helicopter bases. The Wales Air Ambulance defended the proposed changes, citing the underutilization of medical teams in Welshpool and Caernarfon. It assured donors that all contributions would be used efficiently to save lives across Wales without disadvantaging any community.

As the debate intensifies, stakeholders advocate for a solution that balances operational efficiency with community needs. The outcome of the review will undoubtedly shape the future of air ambulance services in Wales, impacting many who rely on timely medical assistance in emergencies.

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