Scoping the Demand for Night Operation of Essex & Herts Air Ambulance: A Prospective Observational Study

Sarah McLachlan, Hilary Bungay, Scott Wallman, Michael D Christian, Erica Ley, Ronan Fenton
Air Medical Journal 2021, 40 (1): 28-35

OBJECTIVE: Helicopter emergency medical services play an important role in the prehospital care of critically ill and injured patients, providing enhanced interventions and direct transfer to specialist centers. Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) delivers prehospital critical care to patients in Essex, Hertfordshire, and the surrounding areas. Historically, EHAAT's resources have not operated during the night. This study aimed to ascertain demand for prehospital critical care in Essex and Hertfordshire during night hours.

METHODS: A prospective observational design was used. Data were collected by 11 critical care paramedics during night shifts on a critical care desk using an online survey. Details were recorded for incidents in Essex and Hertfordshire between 21:00 and 07:00 deemed appropriate for a prehospital critical care response.

RESULTS: A total of 108 incidents were recorded across 52 nights, equating to an average of 2.08 incidents per night. For 52 incidents, there was no critical care resource available to attend. The majority of incidents fell in closer proximity to EHAAT's North Weald base than its Earls Colne base.

CONCLUSION: The findings suggest a potential need for prehospital critical care during night hours in Essex and Hertfordshire and support the operation of a resource from EHAAT's North Weald base.

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