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Essex & Herts Air Ambulance comes of age with 25,000th mission

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) has hit a landmark in its missions – 25,000 since the charity was founded 21 years ago.

The helicopter emergency medical service attended 1,526 patients in 2019, up 35 (2.3%) on 2018 and the busiest year ever for its critical care teams. Its two helicopters and four rapid response vehicles (RRVs) were dispatched 2,238 times.

Medical incidents accounted for 39% of the total, followed by road traffic collisions (21%) and accidental injuries (16%). The remaining 24% included a mix of cases such as assaults and sports/leisure accidents. Blood transfusions, which EHAAT has been able to provide since October, were given to 35 patients.

The services are provided free of charge but, unlike NHS emergency services, the charity receives limited direct funding from the Government and none from the National Lottery. It costs more than £750,000 a month to keep the service operational and cover costs.

During the day, from 7am until 8pm, the critical care team provides the service using helicopters based at North Weald and Earls Colne airbases. An RRV is used before sunrise, after sunset or when the helicopter is unable to fly because of poor weather or maintenance. At night, from 7.30pm to 7.30am, the service is provided using an RRV based at North Weald.

Each helicopter team consists of two pilots, a pre-hospital care doctor and a critical care paramedic. The RRVs are crewed by a pre-hospital care doctor and a critical care paramedic and carry the same life-saving equipment as the choppers.

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