Air ambulance to fly with 'vital' life saving blood every mission

The East of England Air Ambulance Service will stock vital blood products.

The East of England Air Ambulance Service will now stock two vital blood products on every helicopter and rapid response vehicle. - Credit: EAAA

Critically ill patients will now be able to receive potentially life saving blood transfusions following a £90,000 fundraiser to stock the region's air ambulance. 

The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), which is based in Norwich, has announced it can carry packed red blood cells and freeze-dried plasma on every mission, which could "make the difference between life and death" for gravely injured patients.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, as well as volunteer blood biker charities, Norfolk Blood Bikes and SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire will ensure the air ambulance has a daily supply if needed to be called into action.

Richard Hindson, head of operations at EAAA, said: “I’m hugely grateful and really proud to know that going forward we will have two vital blood products available on every mission for the patients where these treatments might be the difference between life and death.

"It is a privilege to work alongside other charities and hospitals whose main aim is to save lives and achieve the very best outcomes for our patients.

“To get to where we are now is the result of years of hard work and none of it would be possible without the public who have supported this project and the lab teams and blood bikers who work so hard to get us the red blood cells that we need, every day of the year.

"I couldn’t be happier that this month we’ve achieved a really big goal for our patients and the level of care we aim to provide pre-hospital.”

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The red blood cells will also be available in EAAA's rapid response vehicles and the charity will continue to fundraise to cover the annual costs incurred.

The blood bikes will ensure unused supplies are taken back to the hospitals daily. 

Sean Moore, chairman of Norfolk Blood Bikes, said: “Norfolk Blood Bikes are proud to be resupplying the EAAA crew based at Norwich.

"The team at NBB have been very keen to restart the blood on board after the trial finished in December, and hope that our nightly resupply will assist in saving those patients who need it.

"Our motto is we’ll go no matter what - yes, that even means that we will still resupply the EAAA in all weathers.”