London’s Air Ambulance was the first air ambulance service in the UK to carry blood onboard its aircraft and administer pre-hospital blood transfusions to critically injured people suffering from catastrophic bleeding on scene. Since this began in 2012, there has been a reduction in pre-hospital deaths in London from 34 per cent to 19 per cent
Around three quarters of all UK air ambulances now carry some form of blood product onboard.
New data released by the charity shows that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of pre-hospital blood transfusions has increased, compared to the same period in 2019 (30 transfusions and 24 transfusions respectively).
The specialist Barts Health NHS Trust Consultants, which pioneered the blood onboard initiative within London’s Air Ambulance have told of how the injured patients in the Covid-19 period were also more seriously injured and needed a higher number of pre-hospital blood products.
Dr Anne Weaver, Consultant in Pre-Hospital Care at London’s Air Ambulance and Clinical Director of Trauma at The Royal London Hospital, said: “This highlights the need to continue donating blood despite the challenges associated with Covid-19, as traumatic injuries with serious bleeding sadly continue to occur. With the advanced interventions and pre-hospital transfusions provided by the air ambulance teams, we are able to give these patients a far greater chance of survival, but this depends on the blood donors.