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GNAAS supporting National Blood Week

Dr Rachel Hawes OBE with a cool box containing the blood and plasma (Photo Stuart Walker)

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is supporting National Blood Week and World Blood Donor Day, because thanks to those who give blood, they have been able to administer 264 blood or plasma transfusions to patients since 2015.

National Blood Week runs this week, June 10 to 16, aiming to increase the amount of people giving blood.

Without the support of the public, their ‘Blood on board’ project would not be possible. ‘Blood on board’ allows GNAAS to carry blood on their helicopters and rapid response cars.

This meant the charity could deliver life-saving blood transfusions to patients in the immediate aftermath of a life or limb threatening injury, rather than having to wait until they arrived at a hospital’s emergency department.

The following year, 2016, GNAAS were one of the first air ambulance charities in the UK to carry plasma on board, which when given together with blood, offers patients an even better chance of survival, as it provides vital clotting components to help blood clots form and stop bleeding.

Blood on board is a collaboration between the Newcastle Hospitals, GNAAS and volunteers from the Cumbria and Northumbria Blood Bikes and was devised by Dr Rachel Hawes OBE, army reservist, consultant in anaesthesia and prehospital emergency medicine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) and doctor at GNAAS.

Dr Hawes said: “We carry two units of red blood cells and two units of fresh frozen plasma both on the aircraft and the car overnight and the amount the patient receives depends on how severely injured they are and how long their journey to hospital is.

“It’s made a huge difference to the outcome of our patients and to many it really has been life-saving, so I would encourage everyone to give up just a small amount of time to donate blood.

“We’ve had many patients who’ve survived to make good recoveries who probably wouldn’t have without the blood on board service and early critical care provided by the doctor and paramedic teams at GNAAS.”

World Blood Donor Day takes place tomorrow, June 14 and seeks to raise awareness of giving blood on a global level.

To find out more about our blood on board service click here.

To find out more about giving blood, click here.

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