New 24/7 service for Herts life-saving air ambulance charity

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance are now offering a 24/7 service. Picture: Essex & Herts Air Ambulance

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance are now offering a 24/7 service. Picture: Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire residents will be able to access a new all-hours service from an air ambulance charity serving the county, starting this week.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust will now offer a 24/7 critical care team for those in desperate need for the first time in the charity's 21-year history.

Funded entirely from charitable donations, EHAAT has been preparing for this stage for months - and can now deliver advanced pre-hospital care to critically ill or injured patients day and night.

From the hours of 7am to 8pm, the service will be provided by the charity's helicopter airbases - based at Earls Colne and North Weald in Essex.

At night, or when conditions are too dangerous to fly, an EHAAT rapid response vehicle based at North Weald will be used from 7.30pm to 7.30am.

The rapid response vehicles carry a pre-hospital care doctor and a critical care paramedic onboard, who are equipped with life-saving equipment.

Stuart Elms, clinical director at EHAAT, said: "We are very excited to be starting 24/7 operations after a lot of hard work from everyone in the charity and our partner organisation, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

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"There was an intensive recruitment phase to obtain the necessary number of pre-hospital care doctors and critical care paramedics to give us the numbers and the resilience to safely work 24/7.

"At night we will still be tasked to the same kinds of calls that we would do during the day. We will have exactly the same equipment and highly skilled team bringing the hospital to the patient.

"Patient care and the safety of the team when responding in the hours of darkness are very important. Working on scene at night can be very technically demanding so we are giving our teams the training and equipment they require to work safely.

"Our excellent governance processes will keep an eye on all the missions to ensure that no matter the hour, we work at the same standard of excellence."

Last year, the charity's helicopter emergency medical service teams tended to 1,491 patients across the county.

According to the EHAAT, it costs in excess of £750,000 every month to keep the service operational. and last month the trust raised more than £20,000 in donations in the build up to today's news.