Our clinicians, often consultants in emergency medicine or anaesthesia, are passionate about developing the most advanced emergency pre-hospital treatment for our patients
East Anglian Air Ambulance thrives on being part of the community it serves, and is committed to providing the highest standard of patient care possible. As part of this commitment, EAAA works hard to bring the best possible treatment, equipment, and skills to their service. This means being at the vanguard of clinical work research. Our clinicians, often consultants in emergency medicine or anaesthesia, are passionate about developing the most advanced emergency pre-hospital treatment for our patients. Research is an important part of this commitment to excellence; and so this page will demonstrate our work.
East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) has equipped its crew members with body-worn video cameras (BWVC) to further enhance the standards of healthcare it offers. The Charity’s clinical staff are now wearing discreet body cameras when on missions throughout the East of England.
The patient and clinical data gathered during this process will not be shared with anyone external unless patient’s consent has been given. The only exception to this will be where EAAA is obliged to handover the footage to a higher authority. We envisage that these circumstances will be very rare and limited to cases where the police or courts require the information as part of a criminal investigation. Such footage will not be used for promotional reasons or for any purposes other than internal training.
Please note that EAAA sometimes works with external producers who record our missions for documentary television programmes using their own equipment and personnel. In these cases, separate consent arrangements will be used and managed by the production company.
Observer Shifts and Medical Student Electives
At the moment, due to Covid-19, we are not able to accept any observers for shifts with us. We will advise on the website when we are able to take observers again and the process for applying. We normally have a limited number of places for medical student elective placements, but at the moment these are also suspended. We have a waiting list which is full and regretfully cannot accept any further requests at the moment. We anticipate re-opening the application process in March 2022 and details will be found here.
EAAA are continually working to ensure that we deliver the best possible care to our patients. Every incident is different, so it is standard practice for every case we attend to be discussed in detail in order to identify whether anything new can be learned. Any relevant learning points are then shared with all of our operational crews.
The use of body-worn video cameras will allow the attending crew and their supervising consultant to review all aspects of the incident and aid in the development of individual practice. If we think it would be beneficial for all of our clinical colleagues to see the original footage as part of the learning process, we will make all reasonable efforts to seek the explicit consent of the patient(s) involved in the incident to share this.
The body-worn video camera will be attached to the outside of the crew member’s jacket and will be clearly visible.
We fully respect your wishes and the video will be immediately switched off, and any footage recorded prior to this will be immediately erased on return to the airbase.
The footage will be routinely deleted once viewed by the attending team or after 30 days, whichever is sooner. If a requirement is identified for the footage to be retained beyond 30 days, all efforts will be made to seek consent from the patient(s) involved.
The footage will be stored on a secure, restricted access computer located at the operational airbase. Recordings can only be seen by those authorised to see them, and access is logged and available for audit.
No. We will not use the recording for anything other than the teaching purposes as described above. For example, the footage cannot be used for promotional purposes, news reports, or uploaded onto social media.
RePHILL Trial - completed and awaiting results
The Resuscitation with Pre-Hospital Blood Products (RePhill) trial is a randomised, controlled, national clinical trial, funded by the National Institute for Health Research and coordinated by the University of Birmingham. It is the first trial of its kind and aims to determine whether giving blood in a pre-hospital environment improves patient outcomes in a trauma setting.
The trial was conducted blind, meaning the participants (our team at EAAA) did not know what product they were receiving; minimising the risk of bias in testing the treatment. EAAA was one of four air ambulances to participate in the trial, starting in 2018 and ending the trial in January 2021. Collectively, 432 trauma patients were recruited to the trial over this time period, of which 101 were EAAA patients.
Head of Operations at EAAA, Richard Hindson, said: “We were keen to participate because we believe in the benefits of carrying blood and valued the contributions this study will have for the wider medical profession. Without challenge, there are perceived benefits to delivering blood on-scene, however not enough is known about patient outcomes, the long-term effects or the best ways to utilise this treatment.
“This trial will provide the first evidence-based analysis regarding which patients benefit most from blood products in a pre-hospital setting, in order to inform best practice. Blood is a very important resource and the trial will help identify where it can make the biggest impact. We eagerly await the results.”
What did the trial involve?
To take part in this trial we needed to receive daily provisions of blood or saline (salty water) to each of our operating bases. SERV Norfolk and SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire offered to collect these products from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Addenbrooke’s Hospitals, respectively, and deliver them to us by car or bike every day to ensure that we could take part in this study, that could potentially save more lives.
There is currently no evidence to suggest either way whether giving pre-hospital blood products on scene will actually improve patient outcomes, and we don’t know if giving blood and plasma early in the course of injury aids survival. This trial will determine whether this strategy is effective or not and we await the results. This is an important trial, which will ensure we are giving our patients the best possible treatment on scene.
Conversations with RePhill started in 2015, so successfully reaching the end of the trial just over five years later is a big moment for all involved. Richard continued: “The trial would not have been possible without a huge network of teams who supplied the blood products and got them to us every day. Our huge thanks goes to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the region’s blood bike charities, Norfolk Blood Bikes and SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, for their tireless work. We didn’t carry blood before the trial and since participating, we’ve learnt a lot about all the steps involved. We’re keen to take forward this learning and continue to offer blood and plasma products to our patients.”
SERV, a charity which is managed, run and operated entirely by volunteers, provides a phenomenal service specialising in transporting blood and blood products, samples, instruments, medical notes and donated breast milk for the benefit of NHS patients. Not only has SERV committed their time to do this, but the charity have been an integral part of the planning, logistical and testing process leading up to the agreement to take part in the trial. Without their commitment to this project it would simply not be possible to undertake, so we would like to say a big thank you to them.