On Friday 10 September, East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) celebrated Air Ambulance Week 2021 with a special event in Norwich to mark the official opening of the charity’s newly extended and renovated 24/7 operational base and headquarters at Norwich Airport.
During the event, the base, which is called Helimed House, was also blessed as part of a multi-faith ceremony to wish the air ambulance crews and patients the utmost safety.
22 key figures representing the lifeblood of the charity, including former patients, donors, crew, a staff member and a volunteer, cut a yellow ribbon to officially open the base, which was completed earlier this year.
Building the state-of-the-art facility has been a long-term organisational goal, enabling the charity to operate a 24/7 service by air and road for the first time. The new headquarters will help future-proof the organisation, bring more teams under one roof and provide adequate rest and welfare facilities for the Anglia One crew. The new base also includes an immersive training suite for the clinical teams.
EAAA has revealed that July was the charity’s busiest month on record in over four years and EAAA’s busiest ever July.
The air ambulance charity, which has two teams covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, was tasked 266 times across the region in July. This was 38 times more than in June, where the charity was tasked 228 times, a 16% increase month on month. In comparison, in July 2020 the charity was tasked 247 times and in July 2019 235 times, making July 2021 EAAA’s busiest ever July.
With more people staying in the UK this summer the demand on resources like the air ambulance is expected to increase. In addition, this period covers the charity’s first month of 24/7 flying, making the medical teams available to more people by helicopter during the early hours of the morning. The top three reasons for calling out the air ambulance teams in July were; medical emergency, cardiac arrest and accidental injury.
East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) is now permanently able to deliver blood transfusions as a core part of its life-saving service.
Following an urgent fundraising appeal made by EAAA in May, the air ambulance charity, which covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, is now able to carry packed red blood cells and freeze-dried plasma on every mission.
Blood transfusions ensure that the most gravely injured patients suffering a major bleed have the best chance of getting to hospital through increasing oxygen delivery and clot production.
EAAA’s Blood on Board project has involved raising in excess of £90,000 and essential partnership working between two of the region’s hospitals, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and Addenbrooke’s, and two volunteer-driven blood biker charities, Norfolk Blood Bikes and SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Chris Marshall, aged 49, is a barber from Sheringham and father of two. In May last year Chris was involved in a life-threatening collision with a car near Cromer Golf Club, while he was out training for a 100-mile cycle challenge. When Chris’s wife was first notified about the accident, she was told Chris wasn’t likely to survive.
The accident happened around 11:30am on 12 May 2020. A team from the East Anglian Air Ambulance was tasked at 11:39am to provide critical care at the scene, landing on the Cromer Golf Club car park. The EAAA team worked for over an hour to deliver the enhanced pre-hospital care interventions required to give Chris a fighting chance. These included performing a thoracostomy, a procedure to release air to treat a collapsed lung, and anaesthetising Chris to take control of his breathing.
Chris had a suspected head injury and had broken several bones in his body. His injuries were classed as life-threatening and without the enhanced interventions of the air ambulance team, he would not have made it to hospital.
Fortunately, the team were able to stabilise Chris enough to be moved and he was flown to the major trauma centre at Addenbrooke’s for specialist treatment. Chris’ injuries were extensive and included three bleeds on the brain, several spinal fractures, including some damage to his spinal cord, a fractured pelvis, broken left shoulder blade, hip and ankle and several broken ribs on his right side. He has since suffered double vision, slurred speech and had to learn to walk and talk again. Chris also has nerve damage which still prevents him from fully lifting his arms up.
Tonight (Wednesday 30 June) is a landmark moment for East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and the provision of emergency critical care in the region, as the charity starts flying 24/7 for the very first time.
The gap between 1:30 am and 7am where there has been no helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) coverage in the region will now be closed, as EAAA becomes the first air ambulance in the East of England to fly 24 hours a day.
Becoming a 24/7 service for East Anglia has been a long-term ambition of the charity, with the initial research for expanding to a 24/7 operation taking place four years ago. Since then, EAAA has taken gradual steps towards achieving this ambition, which importantly included raising an extra million pounds a year to fund the additional operating hours, increasing its car cover to 24/7, building a new operational base and now 24/7 flying.
East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) has been awarded the top spot in this year’s Best Companies list for the Charity Sector for its exceptional employee engagement and support during the pandemic.
The charity has also been recognised as the 6th Best Company to Work For in the East of England in the 2021 Best Companies listings and 14th in the Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies to Work For in the UK (for private companies and not-for-profits).
These national awards are based on the results of an employee feedback and engagement survey which feeds into regional, national and sector league tables. These fantastic results recognise the charity’s long-standing commitment to creating a fantastic place of work to support the life-saving organisation’s number one priority: delivering an excellent service for its patients. And that the organisation went above and beyond during the pandemic to support its staff, keep people connected and promote well-being.
East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and its aviation partner Babcock have announced a significant new multi-year contract to keep the helicopter emergency medical service flying high and saving lives 24/7 into the next decade.
EAAA has two state-of-the-art helicopters covering the region, one based in Norwich and one in Cambridge, which are currently supplied by Babcock. The new contract crucially covers the introduction of 24/7 flying and follows a detailed examination by the charity of all potential UK helicopter operators, in order to find the right partnership to deliver the service into the future.
Babcock will continue as EAAA’s exclusive aviation partner for at least the next seven years, providing EAAA with advanced helicopters, ground support, engineering and pilots.
Matthew Jones, Director of Operations at EAAA, said: “In the 10 years we have partnered with Babcock we have been impressed with their commitment to safe and increasingly effective air ambulance operations. This new contract means we can continue to work together to deliver, and improve, the critical emergency response we are proud to offer to the people of East Anglia."
Life-saving crews from East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) have moved into their new Norwich headquarters, ahead of planned 24/7 operations later this summer.
The charity, which has been operating from temporary accommodation for over a year, launched its mission to deliver a 24/7 air ambulance service in the East of England back in 2019. This week, despite delays due to the pandemic, that goal is one step closer as its life-saving crews have moved into the charity’s newly built 24/7 operating base at Norwich Airport.
The Anglia One helicopter team will start flying 24/7 from the base in late June, after a short settling-in period.
Funded through generous gifts in Wills, the £7 million development will enable the charity to finally have the training, rest and welfare facilities required for a fully 24/7 helicopter operation and will make EAAA the first air ambulance in the East of England to fly round the clock.
By flying 24/7 the charity estimates it could be tasked by helicopter up to 600 more times a year, delivering critical care to those in need faster at night and closing the five-and-a-half-hour gap where there is currently no helicopter coverage in the region (between 1:30am and 7:00am).
20 years ago on 9 February, East Anglian Air Ambulance flew its very first official mission, to help someone in Norfolk in a serious condition.
At this point, the charity, which was set up a few months earlier, in September 2000, only had enough funds to fly once a week, and did so on a Friday.
The helicopter was a black Bolkow 105, built in 1977, and was also used as a police helicopter. The crew was a single pilot and two paramedics, different to the double pilot and doctor and critical care paramedic teams who operate today.
Records show the first flight was at 16:00pm on Friday 9 February, with a total flight time of 25 mins, covering the flight to the incident scene and back again. The crew were back on base by 16:55pm, which indicates that on the very first mission the patient was not transferred to hospital in the air ambulance, but help was provided on-scene.
East Anglian Air Ambulance is sharing a story about a one-year-old child who suffered serious burns whilst on holiday in Norfolk, to raise awareness for the charity and its Virtual Gifts Chrsitmas appeal.
In July, the Day family, from North London, were enjoying a summer break at Fritton Lake, near Great Yarmouth. Dad Chris, mum Bailyn and one-year-old Charlie were getting ready to leave the lodge, packing up for the trip ahead. Unfortunately, as lunch was being prepared, Charlie excitedly burst into the kitchen. Within seconds, he had reached up onto the kitchen counter and pulled a pan of boiling hot water all over his chest, torso and face, causing him to scream out instantly in incredible pain.
Charlie’s parents rushed him into the shower to try and cool the burns down as quickly as possible and dialled 999. An ambulance was dispatched whilst Charlie’s family tried to follow the advice of the call handler, but his condition wasn’t getting any better and the situation was escalating quickly. Recognising that Charlie would most likely need specialist treatment, the Anglia One team from Norwich was also dispatched.