When it comes to emergency response, the power of collaboration cannot be overstated. Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) works in close partnership with a range of local organisations to deliver advanced pre-hospital care to the scene of incidents, including serious illness or injury caused by road traffic collisions, medical emergencies, accidental injuries and other trauma incidents.
On average, each of their two critical care teams are dispatched six times per day, when a critical care paramedic and dispatcher by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) identifies a need for their crew’s specialist skills and rapid response. While EHAAT’s close working relationship with EEAST marks the initiation of their response, it represents just one facet of the charity’s broader collaborative network.
EHAAT has also developed close working relationships with key emergency services across the region, including the Hertfordshire Constabulary, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Essex Police, and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, exemplifying the multi-agency approach required for effective emergency response.
The pre-hospital critical care network within the East of England also includes EEAST’s extended skilled and critical care paramedics and the following charities: East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), Magpas Air Ambulance, the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service, Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS) and BASICS Essex. These partnerships not only facilitate seamless operations at the scenes of incidents but also enhance the collective capability for emergency services in the region to provide swift, coordinated care to those in critical need.
Every incident is unique, but one common thread prevails — the need for seamless interaction among multiple emergency services, including ambulance services, police, fire and rescue services and hospitals. Recognising the significance of this collaboration, EHAAT actively engages with emergency services to strengthen relationships and address the challenges they face, as well as those faced by partner organisations.
“We’ve always actively engaged with emergency services, sharing knowledge and building strong and productive relationships focused on achieving the best outcomes for patients. We’re taking proactive steps to continuously improve upon this foundation.
“Once a month, we host Clinical Governance Days, which our colleagues in the emergency services are invited to attend. We also hold regular meetings with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the wider NHS to share best practices, ensuring EHAAT remains at the cutting edge of pre-hospital care delivery.”Ben Myer, EHAAT Clinical Delivery Lead.
Inclusivity in every base visit
Over the past year, the charity’s Patient and Family Liaison Team has continued focusing efforts on scheduling base visits as they continue providing support for patients and families that have connected with the charity. EHAAT strives to be inclusive in all base visits by inviting EEAST and other emergency services partners to join their team at their Earls Colne and North Weald airbases.
“It’s our mission to continually improve patient experience and outcomes. We extend our heartfelt invitation not only to emergency services but also to bystanders, call handlers, dispatchers, ambulance services, police and fire personnel. We recognise that every action can be a crucial link in a patient’s chain of survival, ultimately leading to better outcomes for patients and their loved ones”.Alice Kershberg, EHAAT Patient and Family Liaison Lead.
Looking to the future, EHAAT’s Medical Director, Dr Tony Joy, is eager to expand his training initiatives with hospitals by dedicating more time to work alongside the receiving teams. This approach will encourage knowledge exchange and help improve the collective response to emergencies, ensuring care is as efficient, effective and coordinated as possible.
Training for tomorrow
EHAAT’s Pre-Hospital Care Course evolved over the past year and is now a seven-day, intensive course that also includes a whole day in the cadaveric anatomy laboratory, preparing clinicians for multiple pre-hospital surgical interventions. The charity invites colleagues from the emergency services to join their clinicians on the course, not only to support the scenarios, but to promote cross-service communication and more efficient working.
EHAAT has also continued delivering their insightful virtual lecture series, which takes place one evening each month. The lectures attract a diverse and large international audience and have attracted positive feedback from attendees.
Clinical Governance Days
On the first Tuesday of each month, EHAAT holds their Clinical Governance Day (CGD), which is open to all interested clinicians, including doctors, paramedics, nurses, students, military personnel and other emergency services personnel. Each CGD is spent reviewing cases and listening to lectures from external expert speakers, who are invited to discuss topics related to pre-hospital emergency medicine.
“I would advise anyone in this field to go to CGDs to learn, be inspired and see what you can take away. Each CGD drives you to look into why everything at the scene happened in a non-judgemental, safe environment. It is a way of improving the service.”Gaynor Wareham, EHAAT Clinical Manager.
A community-centric approach
Having made a number of key appointments, the charity is driving forward in delivering its vision ‘to create a world-leading community through which pre-hospital care is developed to achieve the best possible outcomes for all patients.’ The mission is to develop a framework to improve health outcomes from illness and injury by striving to reach the highest possible standards of pre-hospital clinical care through research, innovation and education.
The Centre for Excellence is underpinned by its four pillars: Research and Scholarship, Innovation, Education and Training, and Community, which support three overarching clinical domains and targeted areas of focus: cardiac arrest, head injury and patient experience and outcomes.
“We’re backed by absolutely amazing supporters, with us every step of the way. As a charity, we know that genuine progress thrives when working collectively. I have no doubt that we will be able to take constructive steps in our aim to create a world-leading community where clinical excellence sits at the centre of our ambition, ensuring pre-hospital care is developed to make a real difference in achieving the best possible outcomes for patients and their families in our region and beyond.
“A key aspect of this is working collaboratively with emergency services and air ambulance charities to share knowledge for the benefit of all.”Dr Gareth Grier, EHAAT Centre for Excellence Lead.
As Essex & Herts Air Ambulance write a new chapter and embrace collaborative opportunities across all areas of the charity, they strive to not only be there for patients and families when they are needed most but to deliver the highest possible standards and the best outcomes, positively impacting the entire pre-hospital care community.
Learn more about the work of air ambulances and read this article from London’s Air Ambulance about how data is integral to deciding how to send the most effective response.