Blood transfusions will help save lives

Photo Blood Launch, L-R: Paul Ormond, General Manager Corporate Affairs Honda UK; John Surtees, Founder Henry Surtees Foundation; Dr Malcolm Russell, Clinical Lead Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust; Adrian Bell, Chief Executive Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust; John Kidd, SERV Kent.

Former F1 World champion John Surtees, OBE, helped launch an innovative new service on Monday that will help to save up to 100 lives a year.

From February 4th blood is being carried on the charity’s two helicopters to allow the specialist doctor and paramedic team to carry out transfusions at the scene of medical emergencies. The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is one of the first air ambulance services to do this outside of London.

The launch of the new blood transfusion service has only been made possible by a unique charity partnership between the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, the Henry Surtees Foundation and SERV (Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers) and NHS partners - the East Surrey and William Harvey Hospitals and NHS Blood and Transplant.

John Surtees, founder of the Henry Surtees Foundation, presented a cheque for £25,000 to Air Ambulance Chief Executive, Adrian Bell yesterday at the Marden base of the charity. The foundation has funded the cost of the blood transfusion equipment on board the aircraft, and has also funded two Honda CRV cars for the transportation of blood in all weathers, once again bringing together the name of John Surtees and Honda, who he drove for in the late 60s.

John Surtees said, “A large part of my life has been spent on the racing tracks of the world trying to save time.  I am very grateful to all of those who have helped the Henry Surtees Foundation provide the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance with blood transfusion equipment and the Honda vehicles to transport the blood.  The speedy delivery of this new service to the scene of an emergency will help save lives and injury.”

SERV (Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers) will take delivery of the new cars which will allow them to transport blood in special temperature-controlled containers to the Air Ambulance bases at Marden and Redhill on a daily basis and in all weathers. The blood stocks will be kept at the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford and the East Surrey Hospital at Redhill where SERV will pick up and return any un-used supplies to the hospitals so that none is wasted.

Until now, the Air Ambulance has only been able to replace lost fluids with a saline solution and patients requiring transfusions were taken to hospitals. Now this advanced medical procedure can be carried out at the scene of an accident or emergency.

Chief Executive Adrian Bell said: “I consider the carrying blood products on the Air Ambulance to be a very exciting development.

“It is a major step forward for the charity in the way we look after the patient and give them the best possible service.

“What is equally exciting is the partnership that we have, with three charities working together along with two hospitals and NHS Blood and Transplant to make all of this happen.”


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