Air ambulance launches emergency appeal to help fund protective gear

Critical care paramedic Nigel Strange and Doctor Rishi Rallan demonstrate the PPE they now need to w

Critical care paramedic Nigel Strange and Doctor Rishi Rallan demonstrate the PPE they now need to wear to provide emergency pre-hospital care Picture: EAAA - Credit: East Anglian Air Ambulance

A lifesaving charity needs the generosity of supporters ‘more than ever’ as the unforeseen cost of personal protective equipment takes its toll on reserves.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) has faced the significant cost of sourcing large volumes of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect its two critical care teams.

With an estimated cost of more than £100,000 to acquire additional PPE now required over a six-month period, the charity has launched an emergency appeal.

More: Listen to today’s daily coronavirus podcast More than £25,000 of unbudgeted funds have been spent on items like respirators, masks, visors, suits, gowns and goggles to protect the doctors and critical care paramedics, while different filters have been sourced for lifesaving equipment to prevent COVID-19 contamination, along with large amounts of medical wipes for deep-cleaning.

Head of operations, Richard Hindson said the equipment needed to operate safely was a huge unforeseen cost, adding: “We understand people are struggling at home too, and may not feel as secure about their income, but we need support now more than ever, from those who feel able to give it, to protect our crews and keep our service operating safely.”

Although many are staying home due to lockdown, the EAAA teams are still responding to road collisions, falls, accidents and medical emergencies, which need the community-funded helicopter emergency medical service to provide critical care by taking the A&E department to the patient.

In March, the teams attended 98 missions by helicopter and 80 by rapid response vehicle.

Mr Hindson said crews had shown amazing resolve by still going out there every day, not knowing what they might come into contact with once they get to scene.

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“We’ve had to adapt all of our procedures to protect against this virus, right down to introducing new criteria for which patients we can transfer by air to hospital, but we’re proud to still be able to be there for the patients who need us and to support the other emergency services,” he added.

“With community support now, we can make sure we’re still there for our patients next month and next year, too.“

More: See here for more coronavirus news

Support the EAAA PPE Appeal by calling 03450 669 999, texting PPE 5 to 70085 to donate £5, PPE 10 to give £10, or PPE 20 to give £20, or visit the website and donate online.

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