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Air ambulance expects surge in demand as coronavirus patient transferred from Harlow to N&N

PUBLISHED: 13:48 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 18:30 15 April 2020

Doctor Rishi Rallan and Critical Care Paramedic Tim Daniels arrive at the Princess Alexandra Hospital by helicopter and quickly put on full personal protective equipment on the helipad. PHOTO: EAAA

Doctor Rishi Rallan and Critical Care Paramedic Tim Daniels arrive at the Princess Alexandra Hospital by helicopter and quickly put on full personal protective equipment on the helipad. PHOTO: EAAA

Archant

The region’s air ambulance says it will play a key role in transferring Covid-19 patients between hospitals - revealing that three critically ill patients have already been transferred with its assistance.

On Easter Sunday, an East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) team helped moved a critically ill patient from the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (NNUH).

While the air ambulance’s helicopter was flown from Cambridge to the Harlow hospital to assess the patient, the patient ended up being taken to the NNUH by road ambulance, with critical care staff being transferred by helicopter instead.

But transfers requiring air assistance are expected to increase as the charity gears up for a surge in coronavirus patients requiring intensive care.

Matthew Jones, Director of Operations at EAAA, said: “We are doing everything we can to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic and the best way our critical care teams can help is to directly support hospitals when they reach capacity.

Doctor Rishi Rallan (left) and Critical Care Paramedic Tim Daniels (right) carefully move the patient into the ambulance to start the transfer.  Photo credit East Anglian Air Ambulance. PHOTO: EAAADoctor Rishi Rallan (left) and Critical Care Paramedic Tim Daniels (right) carefully move the patient into the ambulance to start the transfer. Photo credit East Anglian Air Ambulance. PHOTO: EAAA

“Like all medical professionals at the moment, our teams are working very hard in challenging conditions but we’re doing everything we can to back up the NHS and quickly react to its needs.

“We expect the regional need to transfer patients to be as high as 50 a day, which is why we’re working in partnership with the NHS and other critical care organisations to set up this additional transfer team capacity.”

As of yesterday, April 14, there were 126 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths across the county, with nine new deaths confirmed in one day alone.

Meanwhile, NHS England has announced 11,005 people being treated in hospitals in England have died following a further 744 deaths.

Matthew Jones added: “Last week we launched an appeal to help us fund the personal protective equipment (PPE) we need to protect our crews when they’re working on the frontline and have been amazed at the response we’ve had already.

“We are aiming to raise £100,000 to help cover the unbudgeted PPE costs our operation is facing to fight Covid-19 and would like to thank everyone who has supported our appeal so far.

“Without the right PPE, we can’t assist with these transfers.”


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