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Magpas logo.jpg
Formation January 1, 1971; 44 years ago (1971-01-01)
Type NGO
Legal status Registered Charity 1119279
Purpose Emergency Medical Provision
Headquarters St Ives, Cambridgeshire, UK
Coordinates 52°19′55″N 0°03′47″W / 52.332007°N 0.063123°W / 52.332007; -0.063123
Region served
East Anglia, UK

Magpas is an Emergency Medical Charity that provides pre-hospital critical care and retrieval in the East of England with its main area of operations being in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and the neighbouring parts of Norfolk, Suffolk and Bedfordshire. It trains, equips and deploys a physician-paramedic team known as Helimedix to any medical emergency, illness or accident where the NHS Ambulance Service asks for on-scene medical support.


Magpas was founded as the Mid Anglia General Practitioner Accident Service in 1971 by Dr Neville Silverston OBE and Dr Derek Cracknell. The origins of the name relate to a close historical and geographical association with Cambridgeshire Constabulary which, up until 1974, was known as the Mid Anglia Constabulary. The service was originally provided by General Practitioners from across the Mid Anglia area who were activated by the police and ambulance services to attend serious accidents and provide on-scene care. The charity is now simply known as Magpas:The Emergency Medical Charity.

In 1977, Magpas contributed to the foundation of the British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS) and it has remained a member of BASICS ever since. As NHS Ambulance Service Paramedics developed so did the charity. It undertook detailed research into its effectiveness and reviewed the way it operated. In 1997 the charity entered a new partnership with Cambridgeshire Constabulary to use the Police Helicopter for helicopter deployment of medical staff and patient transport.[1]

Joint operations

In 2007 the East Anglian Air Ambulance agreed to provide an Air Ambulance helicopter, dubbed Anglia Two, to be based out of RAF Wyton for Daytime missions.[2] Although this was withdrawn in 2010, and Magpas went back to providing the whole service, in conjunction with the Police.

From 2000 until 2010 the charity developed a network of Community First Responder Schemes across Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. These local volunteers were trained by Magpas and then responded to medical emergencies such as chest pain and breathing difficulties in their local area. Their role was to treat the patient until the ambulance service arrived. In 2010 the Magpas First Responders were joined with other schemes under the leadership of the East of England Ambulance Trust who will now look after the scheme.

Magpas was the first Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine provider to be inspected and approved by the Healthcare Commission and subsequently the Care Quality Commission.[3] This means the governance and quality assurance of the care it provides meets national standards.

Magpas Helimedix Team Members with Police Helicopter

Magpas Helimedix[edit]

The Helimedix team consists of both a doctor and a paramedic. These are drawn from a pool of specially trained volunteers who give up their free time to support the work of the charity and a small pool of employed and seconded staff. The doctors come from a variety of backgrounds, some are GPs but the majority are now Emergency Physicians or Anaesthetists.[4] The paramedics, both volunteers and seconded staff, are all drawn from the East of England Ambulance Service. They are mobilised by the East of England Ambulance Service to serious incidents or medical emergencies across the East of England, using a variety of helicopters and cars to reach the scene. The team is capable of sedating or anaesthetising the patient at the scene of the incident enabling hospital level care to be provided as soon as possible.

There is a training program for all new team members which covers a variety of topics, and involves a large amount of simulator based training.[5]


In partnership with the University Hospital of Leicester, Magpas runs CTARP (the Cambridge Trauma and Audit Research Project). This project looks to identify lessons from all cases of traumatic injury occurring in Cambridgeshire. This can then be used to improve the quality of care and examine ways to prevent incidents in the first place.[6]


Magpas is a charity. The annual budget is around £500,000 and fundraising events are held frequently.[7]


  1. ^ Cambridgeshire Roundup, Police Aviation News, July 2010, retrieved 2010-10-13 
  2. ^ Charity Commission Return 2009, Magpas, July 2010, retrieved 2010-10-13 
  3. ^ Magpas CQC Listing, Care Quality Commission, retrieved 2010-10-13 
  4. ^ Medical Team Page, Magpas Website, retrieved 2010-10-13 
  5. ^ PHEA Course Website, Magpas, Aug 2010, retrieved 2010-10-13 
  6. ^ Research, Magpas, retrieved 2010-10-13 
  7. ^ Magpas Charity Summary, Charity Commission, retrieved 2010-10-13 

External links[edit]