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21 July 2011, 14:21
Health Secretary and South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley has praised the work done by the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Mr Lansley [pictured - right] visited Cambridge Airport, where the helicopter is based, today (Thursday).
The Air Ambulance is run by a charity which is independent of government and National Lottery funding, and relies entirely on fundraising and voluntary contributions.
The Health Secretary told Heart: "What I find is deeply impressive, is the ability to take a doctor, a paramedic and a considerable amount of equipment, in what is not a very big helicopter.
They can really look after a patient on site, and if necessary get them rapidly to the right place.
The deployment is very impressive too - the Air Ambulance is able to be anywhere in East Anglia from one of the two bases within 25 minutes."
The East Anglian Air Ambulance service is made up of two helicopters, Anglia One which is based in Bedford and Anglia Two which is based in Cambridge.
In total, the two helicopters have flown 563 missions since December 2010.
That works out at on average around two call outs per day.
Of those 563 missions, Anglia Two has flown 293.
91 of those incidents have been in Cambridgeshire.
It costs around £4 million per year to keep the aircraft flying and provide medical equipment needed on-board.
The East of England is also served by another air ambulance, which is operated by the emergency medical charity Magpas.