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Air ambulance in appeal to fund PPE for live-saving crews

PUBLISHED: 14:54 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:54 07 April 2020

EAAA critical care paramedic Nigel Strange and doctor Rishi Rallan using personal protective equipment. Picture: East Anglian Air Ambulance

EAAA critical care paramedic Nigel Strange and doctor Rishi Rallan using personal protective equipment. Picture: East Anglian Air Ambulance

Archant

The region’s air ambulance has launched an emergency appeal to help fund personal protective equipment (PPE) for its crews during the coronavirus pandemic.

EAAA critical care paramedic Sam Sweeney using personal protective equipment. Picture: East Anglian Air AmbulanceEAAA critical care paramedic Sam Sweeney using personal protective equipment. Picture: East Anglian Air Ambulance

As key workers, East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) crews are still flying despite the Covid-19 lockdown, which has seen many working from home or not at all.

The air ambulance’s contributions can often be the difference between life and death for patients, making them a vital part of the emergency services’ work to preserve life and keep people safe.

However, the crews themselves need to be kept as safe as possible from harm, something which has cost a significant amount of money for the charity during the virus outbreak.

EAAA has been forced to adapt its operating procedures and source a large amount of PPE for its critical care teams – they put the cost of buying more PPE to cover a six-month period at more than £100,000.

To help fund this equipment to keep its crews safe, the charity has launched an emergency appeal for donations.

More than £25,000 has already been spent on respirators, masks, visors, suits, gowns and goggles to protects doctors and critical care paramedics, while they have also had to source different filters to prevent contamination and medical cleaning wipes which have been proven to kill the virus.

The charity has been forced to draw on its financial reserves to continue operating, as it has been unable to hold the fundraising events and activities that it usually would.

But the vital life-saving work continues with traffic accidents, falls and medical emergencies such as heart attacks all still happening – in March 2020, EAAA teams went out on 178 missions and treated 111 patients.

EAAA head of operations Richard Hindson said: “At a time like this we can’t take any chances with the safety of our crews, but we also need to be able to provide the same level of care for our patients. The equipment we now need to operate safely is a huge unforeseen cost that simply hasn’t been budgeted for, but we can’t send our crews out without it.

“We understand people are struggling at home too and may not feel as secure about their income, but we need support now more than ever, from those who feel able to give it, to protect our crews and keep our service operating safely. Please donate what you can to help.”


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