By Rachael Grealish
The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is moving closer to being able to provide 24/7 critical care in Cumbria due to expansion.
It was confirmed yesterday, Tuesday, March 7, the service has expanded its all-night rapid response vehicle service to four nights a week.
The GNAAS initially launched their night-time service in Cumbria, in May 2021, covering Friday and Saturday nights, from 8pm to 8am when the charity’s air ambulances do not fly.
The rapid response vehicle carries the same life-saving equipment as its flying counterpart and is staffed by a highly skilled paramedic and doctor team who can deliver blood, anaesthetic procedures, and other advanced treatments to critically ill or injured patients.
This has proven to be a huge help as the critical care team was deployed 154 times on a rapid response vehicle to incidents in Cumbria, including road traffic collisions and cardiac arrests.
Since then the service has been working hard to raise funds so the service can run all night Thursday through to Sunday.
David Stockton, chief executive officer at GNAAS, said: “Becoming a 24/7 service has been a long-term goal of the charity, and a personal ambition of myself, so we’re very proud to continue that journey.
“Our team can now deliver a high level of pre-hospital care to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the North East, and we are now covering seven days and four nights in Cumbria, with an expectation to add more evenings over the coming months.”
To facilitate the service expansion, the GNAAS has had to recruit more paramedics and specialist doctors who are now working through the special training and evaluation process.
It takes between six and nine months to provide them with the skills, education and support needed to work at GNAAS.
GNAAS also recently added a new Volvo XC90 to the fleet, which was funded by the Keswick fundraiser ‘Max Out in the Lake District’.
GNAAS has operated an overnight service in the North East for several years and at the start of 2023 the team began working every night of the week so that no matter when someone is in need, the team are able to respond.