A unique collaboration between the East of England’s two Air Ambulance Charities, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) and East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) to provide an extended service during the longer summer days has been shown to be successful with an additional 75 missions flown by the charities’ helicopters during the period.
Our Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) pilots are scheduled to work a maximum of 10 hours on a shift so, during the summer, when days are at their longest, key hours of daylight, for instance during the morning and evening rush hours can be left with no cover.
By linking up and staggering their Crew start times, both Charities, each of which operate two helicopters, were able to provide a HEMS service from 7.00 am to 9.00 pm or sunset, whichever occurred first, right across Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire between April and September. Missions they were able to support during the extended hours service included road traffic collisions in the morning and evening rush hours as well as cardiac arrests and falls from height.
EHAAT operates two aircraft, based at Earls Colne and North Weald Airfields, and flies highly trained Doctor/Paramedic crews. The EAAA has two aircraft, based at Norwich and Cambridge Airports. It serves Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire and also flies Doctor/Paramedic Crews. Both Charities are tasked to the scene of major trauma and medical emergencies across the region by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.
Commenting on the partnership, Cliff Gale, EHAAT Operations Director, said: “It took a lot of planning to implement the extended service but the results speak for themselves. By getting to incidents quickly and starting life-saving treatment at the scene our Crews can make a real difference at major incidents and emergencies. By working together we were able to make a bigger contribution to patient care and outcome over a longer period. We will look to repeat this exercise this year and also explore other partnership working initiatives.”
Tim Page, Chief Executive of the EAAA, said: “This is a great example of how charities can work collaboratively, in this case with our partner, the East of England NHS Ambulance Trust, to provide enhanced pre-hospital care across our region. We’re delighted that the scheme was a success and are also keen to explore similar initiatives that raise standards of patient care. We’re grateful to everyone in the region who helps to support both charities. We couldn’t do it without you.”
Tim Daniels, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust Air Operations Manager, said: “EEAST is delighted with the progressive working partnership with EHAAT and the EAAA and would like to praise both organisations for the hard work that made the extended flying hours last year such a success. We are very keen to continue this work to ensure we deliver consistent and appropriate specialist care 24/7 across the East of England.”
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