Record number of flights for region’s air ambulance service

ESSEX & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) attended a total of 1,491 patients in 2018, making it the busiest year ever for the charity’s critical care teams. The figure is an increase of two per cent on 2017 with 1,461 patients and a rise of 38 per cent on the 2016 total of 1,077.

EHAAT’s helicopters and rapid response vehicles were dispatched on a total of 2,241 occasions last year. Of these 1,852 (83%) were for incidents in Essex and Hertfordshire. The remainder were to attend patients in Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Greater London and Kent to provide support when the local air ambulances were already committed.

Medical incidents accounted for 39 per cent of the total, followed by road traffic collisions (24%) and accidental injuries (15%). The remaining 22 per cent included a mix of cases such as assaults and sports/leisure accidents.

The busiest part of the year came in May, June and July, with more than 200 missions each month. During 2018 over 300 missions took place on a Saturday, making it the busiest day of the week.

Stuart Elms

Stuart Elms, Clinical Director at EHAAT, commented: “The need for the charity’s life-saving service is as strong now as it was 20 years ago when our first helicopter, covering just Essex, took to the air with two Paramedics in 1998.

“We now operate Critical Care Teams consisting of a Pre-hospital Care Doctor and Critical Care Paramedic and have two state-of-the-art helicopters covering the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire. They are backed up by Rapid Response Vehicles after sunset and in poor weather.

“With the help of our supporters across Essex and Hertfordshire we will continue to develop our service to give the best critical care we can to the critically ill and seriously injured patients that we attend.”

It costs in excess of £500,000 every month to keep the service operational, much of it raised through charity donations.