VAT on Air Ambulance Fuel Payments

Part of United Kingdom Borders – in the House of Commons at 5:03 pm on 11 July 2012.

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Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford 5:03, 11 July 2012

I start by congratulating my hon. Friend Guy Opperman and Hugh Bayley on securing the debate. I was delighted to attend the Backbench Business Committee meeting at which the proposal was made. I know that the hon. Member for York Central was unable to be there, but I am pleased that we now have the opportunity to have this discussion in the Chamber. I want to make a short contribution in support of the motion.

The Kent, Surrey and Sussex air ambulance has a special place in the hearts of my constituents. It provides an invaluable service across the three counties, which have seven motorways running through them on which five serious accidents happen every day. However, road accidents account for only 41% of the emergencies that the local air ambulance attends. Medical emergencies such as cardiac arrests and strokes account for a further 25%, and both require a swift response and excellent, quick medical care if they are to be dealt with quickly and properly.

A quick news search on the Kent, Surrey and Sussex air ambulance shows how vital it is across the counties. Yesterday, it landed on the M20 motorway and took a lady who had fallen from a bridge not to the hospital at the next junction but to a specialist unit in London. A few hours later, it transferred from Ramsgate to King’s college hospital, again in London, a workman who had fallen 30 feet. That journey would have been very difficult to make by road. Last Friday, the helicopter took a 78-year-old man with serious facial injuries following a DIY accident from Lordswood in my constituency to hospital in London. As the local newspaper reported, the helicopter landed nearby at 10.25 am. Doctors gave the man emergency treatment at the scene before he was flown to the major trauma centre at the hospital in Denmark Hill.