Twenty four/ seven air ambulance service due to be operating next year
- Credit: Archant
A charity is pushing ahead with plans to bring a 24/7 air ambulance service to the region as it marks its 20th year of saving lives.
The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) aims to bring in round-the-clock support next year.
National Air Ambulance week, beginning today, marks a critical milestone for the organisation, which in 2013 was the country’s first emergency helicopter service to start flying at night.
This is one of the inspirations behind the quest to extend its helicopter service to 24/7 coverage.
CEO Patrick Seal said: “EAAA is a unique lifeline for anyone in East Anglia.
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“We are incredibly proud to be here today, having kept flying throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and to see such a high need for our crews over the last few months.
“We know we’re providing an essential service for the people of East Anglia and we’re so, so thankful for all the support we have received over the last 20 years.
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“We really couldn’t be here without the community that funds our life-saving work. A huge heart-felt thank you from all of us to everyone who has supported us.”
The charity celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday after becoming established on September 6, 2000.
Initially, it ran just one day a week, on a Friday from Norwich Airport - with a single paramedic onboard.
The EAAA, which needs £13m worth of donations a year to keep running, now has two helicopters carrying an emergency medicine doctor and a critical care paramedic.
In 2019, it began operating 24/7 rapid response cars from Norwich and in 2020 it extended the same cover to Cambridge.
According to the charity, the “generosity of local people” means the EAAA has helped almost 20,000 patients since its conception.
To thank the community for its support, the charity has released a short film exploring its key achievements over the last 20 years, how the service has grown and the people it has helped.