New night flights and doctors on every mission have helped the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) achieve a new high of emergencies attended.

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With call-outs hitting 1,650 in 2013, the service is looking to develop a training facility to simulate emergencies - and to boost fundraising, which last year hit £500,000 per month.

The latest news about the service emerged at the EAAA’s annual meeting at Ickworth Hotel at Bury St Edmunds on Saturday.

Chairman Andrew Egerton-Smith, who founded it 15 years ago, told a crowd of around 100 people that the number of patients helped by the air ambulance each year was on the rise.

Mr Egerton-Smith said the service, made up of 15 critical care practitioners, 34 doctors, four Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) consultants, 23 associate doctors and five trainee doctors, had changed the way it worked during the past year.

He said: “The improvement in the clinical aspect as well as night time flying has made a huge difference. We used to take people to the local hospital but now we take the accident and emergency service directly to the patient, which has had a dramatic effect on the number of people we can save and has put us at the forefront of air ambulance services.

“The number of patients we attended to last year was 1,650 and we have already been out to 100 so far this year. Now we are able to fly at night, we can see a whole new vista opening up as to what we are able to offer.”

The charity’s income rose by 10 per cent last year but costs increased by 32 per cent due to the acquisition of a EC145 helicopter.

Clinical operations director David Zideman said that from March to December last year, the EAAA dealt with 52 per cent of the incidents in East Anglia requiring an air ambulance - a figure it would like to improve upon.

The service has regular contact with 150 people who it has helped, including James Piercy, who told his story at the meeting. He was brain damaged in an accident two years ago on the Dereham bypass after a nail punctured a tyre on his car. His wife was killed in the accident but his two children survived. He spent weeks in Addenbrookes Hospital and said he was lucky to be alive.

He said: “The consultant said my recovery was phenomenal and much of that is down to the swift treatment I received from the air ambulance.”

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