Operating initially just one day a week, on a Friday from Norwich Airport, with one paramedic, the creation of East Anglia Air Ambulance (EAAA) was the start of an important lifeline for many local people.
On 7 September, the start of National Air Ambulance Week in the UK, EAAA revealed that over the last 20 years it has flown almost 30,000 missions and helped almost 20,000 patients, all thanks to the generosity of local people. At a time of so much uncertainty, the charity, which needs to raise £13 million a year to develop and deliver its service, and is aiming to start flying 24/7 for the first time next year, is deeply grateful for the public support that has enabled it to pass this milestone.
A lifeline throughout the Covid-19 pandemic
CEO of EAAA Patrick Peal commented: “EAAA is a unique lifeline for anyone in East Anglia; 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. 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 over the years.”
EAAA has grown to operate two helicopters across the region carrying a highly skilled Emergency Medicine Doctor and a Critical Care Paramedic, ‘always taking the A and E department to the patient, no matter what the type of medical emergency’. In 2012, after a lengthy and arduous development programme, EAAA became the first helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) in the country to start flying at night to unlit sites, which enabled the charity to reach more people in their worst moments.
Planning 24/7 coverage
Today, EAAA is planning to extend its HEMS service to 24/7 coverage next year, to ensure the provision of the very best emergency care to those in need, whenever it is needed.
EAAA does not receive regular government funding and is kept airborne thanks to the generosity of local people. For that, the charity said ‘thank you’ to the community which has kept it flying for the last two decades.