Roadside blood transfusions will be available in the region for the first time after the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) revealed plans to carry blood from January.
GNAAS will become one of only a few air ambulances in the world to perform the life-saving procedure after forging links with another charity and one of the North East’s leading hospitals.
The air ambulance will have the capacity to deliver fresh blood supplies to the scene of life-threatening accidents. This will be the first time in the North of England that blood transfusions will be available outside of a hospital.
GNAAS doctor, Rachel Hawes, witnessed the technique being used by military helicopter crews while working in the Territorial Army.
Dr Hawes said: “One of the first things medics have to do is stop any bleeding to save a patient’s life and many seriously injured patients risk bleeding to death. This will transform pre-hospital care and is going to be of huge benefit to the region.”
The new service is the result of a collaboration between GNAAS, Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and the volunteer blood transportation charity, Blood Bikes.
When the service is launched, Blood Bikes will take the blood from the RVI to both GNAAS bases – at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Langwathby, near Penrith – every 24 hours, taking unused blood back to hospital where it can be put to good use.