Although not something to celebrate as such, as each tasking represents someone who’s life was in danger, this is a significant milestone for the charity, which covers the region by helicopter and rapid response vehicle (RRV).
EAAA operates 365 days year and is almost completely funded by the generosity of people across East Anglia, in the East of England. Its critical care teams, stationed at Norwich and Cambridge, provide emergency cover across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, taking the A&E department to the roadside or bedside of those in a time-critical, life-changing situation, where every second counts.
On average, EAAA is tasked more than 2,500 times a year and has flown 5,000 missions since January 2019, when the 25,000th mission was flown. The majority of its call-outs are to cardiac arrest patients and road traffic collisions.
Charity continues to support throughout Covid-19
The charity has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, only missing two clinical shifts to date due to Covid-19-related reasons, and has also been able to support local hospitals in managing intensive care capacity.
In 2020 so far, EAAA has been tasked 1,328 times by helicopter, 1,061 times by rapid response vehicle, helped 1,603 patients, flown 88,800 miles and supported 284 patients through its dedicated Aftercare Service, which helps patients and relatives understand what happened and why the air ambulance was called. The average cost of a helicopter mission is £3,500 and EAAA needs to raise around £13 million each year to deliver and develop its vital service.
In 2021, EAAA is aiming to start flying 24/7, becoming the first air ambulance in the region to do so, and estimates this will enable the charity to help hundreds more patients a year. The ongoing effects of Covid-19 on the charity’s fundraising income are as yet unknown; however, EAAA is expecting a shortfall in fundraising income next year.
Plans to fly 24/7 in 2021
Patrick Peal, CEO of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: “It’s a very poignant time of year for EAAA to have reached this milestone, as our service hasn’t stopped over the holidays and both of our crews continue to be there for patients in need, 24 hours a day, right across the Christmas period. Although not something we can celebrate, as that’s 30,000 times the red phone has rung to say there’s someone out there in a bad way that needs our help, it just goes to show what an important lifeline EAAA is for the region, especially when we have only been operational for 20 years.
“We have ambitious plans to take our service to the next level in 2021, by starting to fly 24/7 for the first time, and this is only possible due to the generosity of the community which funds us.”