Blood on board project launched in Italy

A project which introduced roadside blood transfusions to the North of England has been emulated in Italy.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service’s (GNAAS) Blood on Board project is thought to have saved dozens of lives since its launch in 2015.

After hearing of the project, the Regional Emergency-Urgency Agency (known as AREU) sent two clinicians to visit the charity to find out more.

Simone Celi, an advanced nurse practitioner and Christian Salaroli, an anaesthetist, both from the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, visited the charity’s former base at Teesside International Airport, as well as its Cumbrian base at Langwathby. They spent four days learning about the delivery of blood transfusions in a pre-hospital setting.

The visit, 18 months ago, was a fruitful one, and earlier this month AREU launched its own version of Blood on Board. The organisation now carry blood and plasma on board their helicopter based in Bergamo.

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Dr Francesco Daminelli, from AREU, said: “The valuable and friendly advice was fundamental for the realisation of this project.”

Simone said: “By having blood on board we can improve a patient’s chance of survival while also reducing the impact on hospitals further down the line. This can only be a good thing for the public and the healthcare system, and we are delighted that we can offer this service to our residents.”

Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS added: “It’s been a huge privilege to work with AREU and play a part in their new Blood on Board project.

“Simone, Christian and Francesco have become firm friends and they have the same ethos as we do at GNAAS – that our patients and their families deserve the very best care we can give them. We wish them every success and look forward to hearing about their live transfusion. We also send our love and support as they continue the fight against COVID.”

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