The Thames Valley Air Ambulance has become the first service of its kind to be awarded 'outstanding' status by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission.

The service operates as an independent charity and receives no government or national lottery funding, relying solely on donations from supporters.

It costs £3,325 to send its helicopter on each mission - and the charity has its own paramedics, doctors and pilots.

It serves a community of more than two million people across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, reaching sick or injured people trapped on spots it would be difficult for a standard ambulance to reach.

Last year saw a massive increase in the number of incidents and patients the team attended, thanks to the growing the number of paramedics and doctors it works with.

During the official inspection the team from the CQC spoke to staff and to people who had benefitted from the air ambulance service.

The subsequent report found that the service delivered the highest standard of hospital-level care to the people living within the Thames Valley. It found that critically ill and injured patients had timely access to urgent treatment, giving them the best possible chance of survival and recovery. It also emphasised that the organisation continually improves its service to better meet patients’ needs rather than to reach targets.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance chief executive Amanda McLean said: “Patient care and safety is at the heart of everything we do, and we’re delighted that the CQC recognises this. We will continue to develop our service through innovative technology and research to further enhance the care we are able to provide.”

“The result of this CQC report would not be possible without the amazing fundraisers, volunteers and members of the public who support us every day."

To find out more or to support the work of Thames Valley Air Ambulance please visit or call 0300 999 0135. Or to read the full report, please visit or