East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) flew its 20,000th mission and it almost went by without being noticed. The mission took place on Tuesday 29 November 2016, in Saffron Walden, Essex at 10:57pm. The incident was a road traffic collision and in attendance were Doctor Marcel Rigaud, Critical-Care Paramedic Gary Spitzer with pilots Captain Gavin Blake and Captain Chris Sherriff. EAAA provided ground assistance to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Matthew Jones, EAAA’s Director of Operations said “The milestone passed without us even noticing because every mission is equally important to us and of course to the patient concerned.”
EAAA first started in the year 2000, providing paramedic cover by air just one day a week in Norfolk. Today, EAAA provides advanced clinical care by air at scene 365 days a year from its two bases in Cambridge and Norwich, attending patients with life-threatening or life-changing accidents or medical emergencies such as road traffic collisions and cardiac arrests.
EAAA was the first air ambulance charity to get approval for night Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operations and for the last six years has planned to provide a doctor and critical care paramedic team on every shift.
EAAA’s missions have increased significantly, currently running at over 200 missions per month. Matthew Jones noted: “At our current mission rate, the next 20,000 missions will take eight years or less to complete”.
2016 has been full of milestones for the EAAA, including:
- the delivery of a second new Airbus H145 helicopter
- featuring on the Sky1 programme Air Ambulance ER
- The opening by HM The Queen of the charity’s new Cambridge operating base
EAAA is not funded by the government and relies on the generosity of donations from the people of East Anglia.
Patrick Peal, Chief Executive of EAAA said: ‘It is bitter sweet to reach this milestone. On the one hand it is great that we have attended this many patients due to the generosity and support of the people of East Anglia. Unfortunately it is a milestone that is realised due to someone that has suffered a trauma or medical emergency. Our thoughts go out to all of our patients, their families and friends, and we look forward to delivering the best pre-hospital care to the next 20,000 patients.’
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