Big boost for air ambulance in 24/7 bid as expansion plan is cleared for take-off
PUBLISHED: 16:18 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:18 14 November 2019
A key piece of the jigsaw towards a round-the-clock air ambulance service has landed into place this week.
The East Anglian Air Ambulance has long since set about its aspiration to provide a 24/7 service for the region, which will allow it to provide its life-saving services at any hour.
Yesterday, a crucial step towards this becoming a reality was made, when Norwich City Council's planning committee gave its unanimous approval to plans to expand the charity's base at Norwich International Airport.
This expansion will provide the service with additional facilities required to achieve this goal, which include places for staff and crew to rest during longer serving hours.
Costing in the region of £5m, the project will see its existing hangar demolished and replaced with a larger one, while also providing first aid training facilities on site.
Sarah Atkins, of EAAA's exective team, said: "We're absolutely delighted that Norwich City Council has unanimously approved our application to extend and renovate our Norwich base.
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"We've been working on this project for a long time as it is crucial in enabling us to realise our ambition of being operational by helicopter for 24 hours of the day in future.
"This will transform our operation and the level of care we will provide across the region."
She continued: "Getting planning approved is a very important milestone and means we will be able to start pushing ahead with the new base build in early 2020.
"We're hugely grateful to all of our supporters who keep us airborne and have been instrumental in helping us raise the additional million pounds we will need each year to fund the extra flying hours."
In case officer Maria Hammond's report, committee members heard how, once achieved, the increased flying time could result in crews attending an estimated 600 more missions per year.
It is also estimated that by providing a 24-hour service, the EAAA would be able to help more than 400 additional patients every year.
A fundraising campaign to support the expansion has been set up and can be donated to at www.misson247.co.uk