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18 September 2012, 13:59
The East Anglian Air Ambulance will now start flying missions at night from its base at Cambridge Airport.
It follows the charity taking delivery of a new state of the art 'night-capable' helicopter [pictured - right].
The charity says it will help it to save the lives of more people across East Anglia.
The East Anglian Air Ambulance decided to start night-flights as it says 'long winter nights should not prevent us helping people in medical emergencies.'
The helicopters will carry specially trained pilots to allow it to fly and land in the dark, along with medical staff including doctors and critical care paramedics.
However, the charity now faces raising almost an extra £2million per year to keep the helicopter flying at night.
It takes the charity's yearly operating costs to around £6million, when the previous costs were approximately £4.2million.
Dad of two Richard Friar from the village of Burwell in Cambridgeshire was treated by the air ambulance after a serious car crash.
Commented on the charity's new night time capability, he told Heart: "It's quite amazing.
To be honest I was surprised it hasn't happened before, but the fact it's happening now is just brilliant as it means they'll be able to save more lives.
Whereas a normal ambulance has paramedics, the doctor on board the air ambulance is capable of performing lots of things.
They have a lot more equipment.
A normal ambulance would not have been able to put me in a coma and would not have been able to operate on me at the side of the road."
Andrew Egerton Smith, Chairman and founder of EAAA said: "My vision for this vital service is that everything we do is of the highest standard and our mission is to deliver exactly what people need, when they need it.
We need to constantly innovate and initiate new ideas and, more than anything, we must provide value for money.
We are the very first air ambulance in the country to be cleared to fly at night and our brand new helicopter has been fitted with state of the art technology to allow night flying.
Today marks the next big step for us and I anticipate an exciting future where working with us will be a badge of honour for clinicians who will want to join our team to hone their trauma skills and knowledge and that individuals and companies will continue to support our life-saving and life-changing work."
Tim Page, Chief Executive of EAAA, added: "I am proud to be leading this amazing charity which actually saves lives and makes a huge difference to the future of so many people, their families and their community.
Our highly skilled pilot, doctor and critical care paramedic crews deliver an incredible service and our backroom support staff make sure that the charity runs effectively and efficiently.
Our move into night flying means that during the winter months when people drive to and from work in the dark, should an accident or medical emergency happen, we will be there, bringing the hospital emergency room to them, wherever they are in East Anglia."