Neighbouring UK EMS operators match extended hours for summer

Neighbouring UK EMS operators match extended hours for summer 16 Apr, 11, Source: East Anglian Air Ambulance

People living and working in the East of England will soon benefit from an extended daylight hour Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) thanks to the operational partnership of two air ambulance charities based in the East.

The move to cover the extended daylight hours during the summer months will see the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), work in partnership with East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) to ensure the six counties they serve (Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) are covered for a longer period.

The helicopters are tasked by the EEAST Clinical Coordination Desk located at Broomfield Hospital to attend incidents where patients require expert clinical care at the time they need it the most. Specially trained HEMS Doctors, Paramedics and life-saving support equipment feature on all four aircraft operated by the two charities and can be rushed to the scene of an incident, effectively bringing the hospital to the patient and enabling life-saving procedures to start at the earliest opportunity.

From 11 April 2011 all three organisations will work together to provide extended flying hours (from 7am to 9pm or sunset whichever is earlier) ensuring coverage of the Eastern region. One helicopter from EAAA and one from EHAAT will cover the early part of the day and the other helicopter from each charity will cover the end of the day, with an overlap in the middle to guarantee the region is covered effectively.

Steve Whitby, Deputy Chief Executive of East Anglian Air Ambulance, said; “Longer days mean that we have a larger amount of daylight hours to cover.  There are, however, restrictions on pilot flying hours and staggered start and finish times allow us to offer a longer working day whilst continuing to provide cover across our whole region. We are looking forward to this partnership to provide the best possible pre-hospital care to those in the Eastern region.”

Cliff Gale, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust Operations Director, said; “By working in partnership with East Anglian Air Ambulance and the East of England Ambulance Service Trust we are able to provide a high class clinical service to the people in all six counties in the region for longer by using the crews and the four helicopters we operate. For the majority of the week the Essex helicopter will mirror the Cambridge aircraft shifts and Norwich the Herts operation. By varying each aircrafts’ start time, the service will be available for longer.”

Tim Daniels, East of England Ambulance Service Trust Air Operations Manager, said, “This new initiative will contribute towards the EEAST’s long term plan to provide a 24-hour critical care service to the region and will significantly benefit those who become critically ill or injured. This is one of a number of initiatives that we wish to develop with partner organisations in order to deliver consistent and appropriate specialist care. We are particularly excited by the opportunities possible in partnership with the EAAA and EHAAT.”

Patient care is always at the forefront of these operations and this partnership demonstrates clearly the real patient benefit of the region’s air ambulances working together to bring critical care to the patients that need it most.

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