East Anglian Air Ambulance was the first HEMS operator in the UK to be approved for night flight operations.
East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) flew its 20,000th mission and it almost went by without being noticed. The mission took place on Tuesday 29 November 2016, in Saffron Walden, Essex when the EAAA crew responded to a road traffic collision.
Matthew Jones, EAAA’s Director of Operations said “The milestone passed without us even noticing because every mission is equally important to us and of course to the patient concerned.”
EAAA commenced operations in the year 2000, with a single BO-105 helicopter, providing paramedic cover by air just one day a week in Norfolk. The service went on to purchase a BK-117C1 in 2006, then an Airbus Helicopters H135 that served until 2016. Today, EAAA provides advanced clinical care by air 365 days a year from its two bases in Cambridge and Norwich which now both operate Airbus H145’s with EAAA receiving the first H145T2 in HEMS service in the UK based at their Cambridge base, followed by a second H145 with the opening of their Norwich base that was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2016. The service operates both helicopters under contract from Babcock International (formerly Bond Helicopters.)
INDUSTRY LEADER IN NIGHT OPERATIONS
EAAA was the first air ambulance charity to gain approval for night operations and for the last six years has planned to provide a doctor and critical care paramedic team on every shift. EAAA’s missions have increased significantly, currently running at over 200 missions per month. Matthew Jones noted: “At our current mission rate, the next 20,000 missions will take eight years or less to complete”.
Patrick Peal, Chief Executive of EAAA said: ‘It is bitter sweet to reach this milestone. On the one hand it is great that we have attended this many patients due to the generosity and support of the people of East Anglia. Unfortunately it is a milestone that is realised due to someone that has suffered a trauma or medical emergency. Our thoughts go out to all of our patients, their families and friends, and we look forward to delivering the best pre-hospital care to the next 20,000 patients.’
The East Anglian Air Ambulance service is most well known in recent times as the workplace of the future king of England, Prince William, who signed on as a pilot with EAAA after leaving the Royal Air Force where he flew rescue missions in the now Retired S-61 Sea King. The prince’s employer EAAA functions solely on donations raised by the generous support of the community of East Anglia and receives no government support to continue their HEMS operation.