Tony Bateson recently completed a thirty year career in founding, developing and directing not for profit ventures. Several of these enterprises have become the largest of their kind in the UK and many have led the field in innovation and entrepreneurial flair. He believes he has led a charmed life despite severe challenges at regular intervals. He has been privileged to meet extraordinary people, CEO of Rolls Royce, billionaire industrialists, a surprising number of the world's greatest scientists, starting with Stephen Hawking and Sir Peter Mansfield, a Nobel Prize winner and inventor of the MRI Scanner, Tony visited his laboratory at Nottingham University at the very time he was completing his design work on what he called the Echo Planar, now known as the Functional MRI Scanner, perhaps the most important machine in the world in medical research. Tony experienced many extraordinary events and amazingly to his constant surprise, these have brought a lot of wondrous achievements. Described as a Social Entrepreneur by the Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph in 2008 when he first launched a campaign to provide helipads at major trauma centres, the Help Appeal..
These things may have all started In the seventies, having found that his daughter Claire, diagnosed as autistic at the age of two, had been placed in a Special School that simply failed on all reasonable measures of educational quality, he mobilised parent power in the school. Finding most parents amply agreed with his concerns soon led to an entirely new school, now one of the largest in the world for autistic children with 125 pupils. Linden Bridge School, Worcester Park, Surrey.
This was followed in 1979 by working towards a residential community for autistic school leavers at Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire that opened in 1983, Stroud Court Community Trust. It received twice as many applications for places than were immediately available. The residential centre was opened by HRH the Princess Royal and visited again in December 2012 when the Princess visited again to mark the centre's thirty year anniversary.
As a result soon after its opening two offshoots of this enterprise opened at Nailsworth, Glos, the Old Dairy and at Caversham. Reading, Dysons Wood House. In the late eighties Batesoon had led an appeal to extend and improve research into Epilepsy that paid for a new research, and scanner department at Chalfont St. Peter at the HQ of the National Society for Epilepsy, home to almost three hundred older epilepsy sufferers that within four years according to medical scientists at Chalfont St Peter advanced the medical understanding of epilepsy by up to ten years. The Snapshot Appeal.
A venture in Liverpool followed to develop a community resource in Central Liverpool for underprivileged and disadvantaged young people in the City, to be managed by Merseyside Youth Association. A five floor building in Hanover Street was acquired for the project and it opened to provide a wide range of recreation , social and health care in a one stop centre, for a large number of young people in Liverpool within a year or two. The Door.
In 1993 Bateson founded a charity to support the new air ambulance service pioneered by the CEO of West Midlands' Ambulance Service Barry Johns but experiencing severe financial stress and having built up a debt of almost £1 million since 1991 when it was launched. It was apparent that the rudimentary fundraising run by the ambulance service was no match for the level of financial support needed and Bateson moved quickly to assemble a group of powerful Midlands' figures to lead a new appeal under the banner of the County Air Ambulance Trust.
The Charity was announced in March 1993 to be responsible for all managed fundraising and to secure and enhance the work of Air Five the Midlands' Air Ambulance, at this time Bateson had secured support from more than twenty five Great and Good Midlands' people and Barry Johns recognising the boost that this might give the Air Five air ambulance changed the name on the helicopter to County Air Ambulance within a matter of days. The NHS had never before or since been seen to move so fast. Today the County Air Ambulance Trust may be Britain's biggest air ambulance charity pioneering independent charity co-funding for helicopters from 1993 and subsequently uniquely pioneering major trauma centre helipads throughout Britain from 2009. It also seems intent, today, upon rewriting history, it's website recently suggesting that WMAS had just ended a contract with a fund raiser prior to appointing Bateson to the role. This is gratuitously false, if the fundraiser referred to is PD, this man, whose main fundraising work appeared to generate a 6% return to WMAS, was unmasked by Bateson and extraordinarily, having no formal role with WMAS, they asked Bateson to dismiss PD, who appeared with his wife, if looks could kill she projected a death ray across the room for the entire half an hour this meeting took to accomplish PD's departure. At a later event the CEO of WMAS spoke from the platform about his puzzlement about where the name County Air Ambulance Trust came from, given his enthusiasm for the name Bateson had proposed and the haste with which he adopted the new name and got it up on the air ambulance, there can be no other interpretation that he spoke in this way so as not to antagonise his volunteers. Many of these were self appointed and out of control, his Divisional Commander had previously turned to Bateson to help re-organise this large group but buckled under the uproar this brought from them causing the planned meeting to be abandoned. At this point the commentary becomes bursting at the seams with candid observations. In order to avoid the repetition of years of trustee failure at CAAT (not seen by Bateson at any other of the twelve voluntary organisations he has worked with since 1969), the remainder of the County Air Ambulance documentation is available only to approved academic researchers, business writers or others properly authorised to review this material. Accordingly it is necessary to request an authorisation code at Mail@tonybateson.com to proceed with this study.
The Chairman Hugh Meynell MBE is a long serving member of the Charity having joined in November 1994. But it should be made clear that the charity came into being in March 1993, when the County Air Ambulance Trust was announced to the public from a meeting at the Minories, Dudley, HQ of the West Midlands Ambulance Service.
This is to correct erroneous reporting that the charity was commissioned by the West Midlands Ambulance Service. Tony Bateson took the plan to the CEO who said that although he was happy with the idea, he couldn't offer financial support to it. Thus it was wholly conceived by Bateson and fully implemented by him in the same way. All costs were met from new fundraising only, no costs were incurred by WMAS and they were more than content to receive all money raised, pending the Charity's planned creation as an arm's length charity responsible for all managed fundraising and soon reaching many £thousands.
It is wholly erroneous to claim that any other person was involved in the founding of CAAT except to support the work of Tony Bateson. Before leaving this subject it should also be added that Tony Bateson, at the time of his retirement years later at the end of 2010, faced a distinct and unexplained cooling on the part of Trustees (he had largely enlisted) albeit he had not at any time drawn attention to their conspicuous failings, nor had he been subject to any form of complaint from any quarter. This cooling may have come about in part from his pushing very hard to gain approval for a large programme of vital new helipads at major trauma centres albeit readily affordable, this would necessarily deplete the charity's 'cash pile' and Bateson noted that there was considerable opposition to this.
Air Ambulance emergency medics had made it plain that a shortage of helipads at major trauma centres could be the single biggest deficit in the rapidly increasing availability of air ambulances services throughout the UK. What are called secondary transfers, (landing on public highways or car parks at a distance from the destination) and in the case of WMAS operations accounting for more than 30% of all airborne patients, effectively halve the patients' Golden Hour and accordingly halves the medical outcomes that might have been expected.
Despite this clear indication of the worth of helipads, Trustees were luke-warm and reluctant to bring this work into the vanguard of CAAT operations. Amazingly the most vehement opposition came from an outspoken NHS appointee on the Board of Trustees. Thus it became a regular stand-off between Bateson, a paid officer of the Charity, and a Divisional Commander of the ambulance service, a uniformed senior NHS officer. Bateson made his own support for helipads more robust in the face of this opposition having previously had to confront him in his uniform and had Bateson passed this it to the newspapers, the Divisional Commander's hostility to the project might have led to a public scandal. In polite terms, the officer maintained that hospitals had their own budgets for helipads, but over a period of many months in 2008 and 2009 Bateson made a point of alerting the Divisional Commander to the hospitals' seeming inertia in tackling the issue and the absence of any action on their part, ie no new helipads.
But it was not simply the recalcitrance of people who might be expected to enthusiastically support new life-saving initiatives that concerned Bateson. There was also a surprising lack of enthusiasm to counter the Divisional Commander and also a detectable wish to preserve the Charity's growing cash pile on the part of some Trustees. Bateson's view was simple, the Charity was raising £multimillions at this time, money was given by the public to be spent on improving patient outcome now, it's not good enough simply to plan for improvements in the long term, nor is it acceptable to garner cash piles for their own sake. There were no liabilities, no need for £multimillion reserve funds - just simply a shameful lack of direct access for patients to many important regional hospitals. Despite Bateson's success in breaking down this opposition there remain many major hospitals where road ambulance is the only way of getting to the hospital admission areas for patients. Bateson believes that not enough has been done since his retirement, to address these concerns, that remain significant. In particular the Charity has apparently failed to put in place lease plans to finance new helipads. This mean there is no on-going clinical link with medical outcomes in the use of helipads and the burden upon charitable funds is higher than it need be. Although charity bearing as much as can be squeezed out of it may be popular with A&E Hospital, surrendering to these blandishments as appears to be the case, it is likely to reduce donor 'value for money' over time and become self-defeating. Hospitals should meet at least half of these costs albeit extended lease plans at low interest rates can ease the immediate impact of these costs. It is believed that this initial funding plan has not been followed in any helipad completed to date. Bateson left a plan in place to develop twenty helipads over ten years. We are now six years down the road , twelve of these helipads should now be in use. Perhaps more, since the lottery Bateson introduced in 2009 is understood to generate large £sums. There is a question too over VAT. Initially charged in full, on early helipad projects - handing a large sum directly to the taxman reducing the value of donated funds, the question remains as to whether air ambulance helipads have been granted relief from VAT as the Chancellor of the Exchequer recently confirmed has been available since April 2015.
However, the trustee cooling referred to, was wholly misplaced. Bateson had never received a single complaint from any quarter during his seventeen years leading the Charity. The Chairman furthermore, had made it plain to the assembled team of some thirty people at the time of his last Christmas Luncheon, that he had at all times left everything to Bateson and that he had run the Charity exceptionally well. Amazingly within weeks Meynell was telling staff not to communicate with Bateson. It might be thought that Bateson's comments at Board Meetings alerting the Board to the possibility that its investment decisions could contravene Charity Commission Guidelines might be unwelcome in some quarters. But as the senior member of staff at the Charity it is quite clear that it was his, Bateson's, duty to raise these concerns without regard to individuals. As holders of public offices there is also a simple duty of care and responsibility upon Trustees, especially where a substantial charity is concerned with very large financial implications in its operations and where the Chairman appears to enjoy liberal powers in his management of these affairs.
Watching the Charity's subsequent activities Bateson feels that advice of the sort referred to may still be lacking. There appears to be a discrepancy between the source of many of CAAT's funds, coming in large measure from West Midlands' donors over several years and subsequent spending in many diverse areas of the country including Scotland and the wealthy south of England. It is certainly true that Southampton was the first major helipad project, with exceptional positive results, but it was set up on the premise of a local appeal to raise local funds to support CAAT's initiative to develop the helipad project as a pilot operation to be extended more widely. But local people in Southampton say the appeal was dropped and 'no money' was raised from the region. Is this the case with the many other helipad projects set out in Bateson's plan, put to the Trustees in August 2011? How many of these subsequent projects have been mainly paid for by West Midlands' donors? With no local appeal fundraising? Can CAAT show that it has raised funds in diverse areas of Britain?
Can CAAT show clearly that Midlands' donors have not largely met the brunt of paying for expensive helipads in wealthier areas of Britain? Since all fundraising is analysed by post code data, CAAT should be able to reassure donors of where new funding is coming from. Since Bateson single-handedly founded the Charity through his own efforts and persistence he unsurprisingly holds proprietorial views about its current management and believes that change is overdue.
Heart of Lancashire. Prompted by Barry Johns, Tony Bateson met with David Hill CEO of Lancashire Ambulance Service to advise him on a project from the NHS to develop a pilot operation to extend cardiac care into the community via trained volunteers and community located defibrillators. Tony created the Heart of Lancashire charity that soon had trained volunteers and defibrillators in many locations throughout Lancashire. The life of an elderly swimmer at Blackpool Public Baths was saved within a week or two of the project starting. Today the First Responders programme in Lancashire has over 1200 trained volunteers and many public access defibrillators.
The ACE Centre Advisory Trust was created in the mid 90s to enhance fundraising for a quasi government institution in Oxford that together with its counterpart in Lancashire provided assessment, equipment and services for young children with cerebral palsy in special education. Additionally The Oxford Centre appeared to have significant accommodation needs.
Although receiving acclaim at international conferences for its adaptive technology it did not have suitable headquarters research space, or sufficient equipment or funds to develop further computer technology that was facing increasing demand worldwide. Within a year or so of completing this project the ACE Centre was able to commission a new building and to commence new programmes of advanced technology. The work of the ACE Centre continues today many years later having led to a groundbreaking centre for the development of adaptive technology for young people limited by their cerebral palsy and otherwise being restricted to wheelchairs but now able to engage in all forms of communication and learning in a way that have might have been thought impossible twenty years ago.
Similarly in the 90s Trinity Sailing Trust was developed to up-grade the work done by three charity owned sailing ships in the South West of England where a programme to provide sea training experience for disabled and underprivileged young people was experiencing greatly increased demand. Trinity Sailing Trust was able to acquire a fourth traditional sailing ship and to increase the number of weekly places available to young people to over 1,000 within two years. The project was opened by HRH The Princess Royal and gained the ongoing support of Rolls Royce Plc.
In 2000 work at Magdalen College, Oxford in connection with Dyslexia was able to be stepped up by virtue of the establishment of a charitable trust The Dyslexia Research Trust to enable it to fundraise more effectively in support of increased research programmes into this educational problem. The Trust was also able to achieve significant support from educationalists and academic experts working the field.
Tony Bateson has recently commenced a new project OxfordMigrainei Labs.org which is a migraine naturopathic therapy and may be adopted by mainstream medicine and the National Health Service. This brings an effective and high rate of success to nearly all users at low cost. It has passed the pilot stage of proof of concept with more than one hundred and thirty users, many of whom experience no further attacks, and is now under research within a Clinical Trial to determine how it works. It is anticipated that a charity will be set up to generate adequate funds to fully explore the research findings upon which the project is based and to further research into how this method works in scientific terms so as to reduce the dependency upon medication faced by up to half of all people affected by migraine. This project may be Tony Bateson's major claim to fame as he discovered the migraine remedy virtually by chance in constantly trying to shake off his own migraines but followed this with extensive trial and error until the chance became a certainty in that he and virtually all users are able to defeat their migraines with this therapy. It is available free of charge at www.migraineban.com. There are said to be a billion people throughout the world affected by migraine according to the Lancet that puts the potential benefit into the medical miracle league but you would be amazed how few of them are willing to try something that doesn't come in a box of pills. The therapy is non invasive, uses no drugs or devices but works better than any known treatment for migraine and not only that that it works better for migraine than any known remedy for any other condition. It achieves ninety percent success by stopping migraine attacks in their tracks and in about 30% of cases the people concerned experience no further attacks, several now for over three years. In a small number of cases perhaps 3% people experience no further attacks and/or persistent headaches although they have never had cause to use the therapy. The Clinical Trial Team put this down to Placebo Effect but their scientific study into how the therapy works is almost thrown into disarray because of these unpredictable outcomes. It is clear that acoustic medicine is a rapidly growing medical science in the USA and a Swedish University has also found a form of remedy based upon the same science which they call kinetic oscillation. The major difference is that in Tony's method there is no invasive activity whilst the Swedish method requires patients to push a device up their nose. We don't ask anyone to do that. Please pass our remedy to family and friends, there is no longer any reason whatsoever to put up with the ghastly effects of a completely disabling migraine attack that Tony suffered for more than five years before finding his brilliant remedy. Neither he nor anyone of the more than one hundred and thirty fellow sufferers have experienced any form of side effects to his knowledge. He started the process of passing on the therapy to others at a public meeting at the Academic Theatre, John Radcliffe Hospital on October 21 2013. This meeting took place at the instigation of Neuropharmacologist Emeritus Professor John Stein of Oxford University following a New Scientist article about UltraSound studies in the USA that both John and Tony felt were analogous to Tony's own naturopathic therapy (ie the same or similar fluid mechanical sound wave medium but with none of the risk associated with UltraSound).
Tony is also engaged in a scheme for young musicians that may be able to provide them with loan instruments when they reach promising levels of performance. Currently such instruments cost £several thousand because of the demand for old European instruments being exerted by many thousands of young Chinese learners, especially wishing to buy violins, violas, cellos etc. The availability of such instruments is falling by the day and is not being replaced. Soon only new instruments will be available, but unsurprisingly these too are rising rapidly in price. This planned charity is in its early stages but it is expected to have many prominent and accomplished international performers amongst its founding members. It is hoped this will be formally launched in 2017.
Tony expects to return to full time study at Ruskin College, Oxford shortly to complete three years of study towards a MA in Social Enterprise, Business and Global Industry studies. He was taken aback a little when the Head of Business Studies at Oxford Brooks University introduced him at a gathering there as 'one of the most unreasonable men I know'. Tony visibly backed away from making his entry onto the platform, until his Italian Professor Friend added 'If you doubt what I say, just look at the number of enterprises he has started in recent years, a lifetime's work for most'. Well of course it may well be a lifetime's work for Tony who now looks more knowingly on the on the old adage that the only thing to quit doing at retirement age is planning.