East Anglian Air Ambulance extends its hours of cover

Norfolk and Suffolk's air ambulance has been able to extend its hours of cover by teaming up with its counterpart in Essex and Hertfordshire.

The collaboration between the East of England's two Air Ambulance Charities, East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) enabled an additional 75 missions to be flown by the charities' helicopters between April and September last year.

Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) pilots are scheduled to work a maximum of 10 hours on a shift, so by linking up and staggering their crew start times, both charities were able to provide a HEMS service from 7am to 9pm or sunset, right across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire.

Missions they were able to support included road traffic collisions in the morning and evening rush hours, as well as cardiac arrests and falls from height.

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.'

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.'

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