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ANNUAL Report 2014/15








istered Charity No. 1092204




north EAST







north Yorkshire

In total, we responded to 1060 requests for assistance from March 31, 2014 to April 1, 2015. They can be broken down into the following regions:

Our Vision:

To provide a


pre-hospital care

service for the people

of the region.

Our Core Value:

To make the care and

safety of patients our

first concern.

We cover a broad range of incidents, some of which are difficult to categorise. The following table shows how we categorised the 869 patients treated during the year:

RTC: 216

swimming: 8

RTC Motorcycle: 76

rugby: 14

horse: 52

Medical: 21

fall: 121

industrial: 27

Farming: 9

sport/leisure: 66

medical cardiac: 84

medical collapse: 67

aircraft: 1

railway: 7

other trauma: 95

Transfers: 5

Dear supporter,

Welcome to our 2014/15 Annual Report. We have included a statistical look at what our aircraft and trauma team have been up to, a financial overview, and some words from people who have been touched by the service either because they have been treated by us, have trained with us or have worked

alongside us in the field.

From a clinical point of view, we are now operating at an even higher level than ever before thanks to innovations from our medical team. Investments in technology and research have enabled us to further improve our standards of pre-hospital care, bringing real benefits to our patients. You can read about some of these advancements later. I am pleased to report that 2014/15 saw the charity continue to perform well from a financial perspective. This is clearly positive news but it must be taken in context because the costs we face are of such a scale that we could never be complacent about the task in front of us. We are only ever a broken down gearbox away from

a £500,000 repair bill, for example. With this in mind, we would like to reach out and thank all the individuals, the social groups, businesses, schools and anyone else whose support enabled us to continue our work. We will continue to work hard for every penny and pound to safeguard the future of the charity. So much happens at GNAAS over the course of a year that it is difficult to encapsulate within this document. Nevertheless, we hope this report gives you a glimpse into how the charity turns the goodwill and generosity of the public into an efficient, effective and life-saving emergency response service. We could not do this without you. Best wishes,

Grahame Pickering MBE

Chief Executive

Great North Air Ambulance Service







istered Charity No. 1092204


this year’s achievements

Bloods boost for critically injured patients

The winter of 2014/15 saw GNAAS carry blood on board its aircraft for the first time. This allows the charity to perform blood transfusions on scene and on the way to hospitals. The project, titled Blood on Board, was conceived by GNAAS doctor, Rachel Hawes, who brought together emergency response experts from across the region to bring the plan to life. Dr Hawes, a consultant at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, has over 15 years’ experience

as an officer in the Territorial Army. She said: “Replacing major blood loss for critically injured patients as quickly as possible is

vital. Emergency doctors and paramedics working with GNAAS

are specially trained and

extremely experienced at stabilising patients at the scene of an

accident prior to transferring them to the nearest Major Trauma Centre.

“The RVI blood sciences transfusion staff then immediately prepare a major haemorrhage pack so that blood transfusion can commence as soon as the patient arrives.

“The Blood on Board concept takes this approach one step further allowing patients to receive seamless high quality care from the time of injury in the pre-hospital environment right through

to hospital care. Having blood on-board GNAAS helicopters, may make a huge difference to a

gravely injured patient’s chances of survival.” As well as the hospital and aircrew staff, the project is also dependent on the region’s charitably-funded Blood Bikes service. The Blood Bikes groups in Northumbria and Cumbria will transport blood from the RVI to GNAAS’ two operational bases at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Langwathby, near Penrith. A fresh box of cooled blood will be despatched every 24 hours, every day of the year, even in inclement weather.

Portable scanners help medics see clearly

GNAAS is now carrying ultrasound equipment on board its aircraft and rapid response cars thanks to readers of the Cumberland News. In just four months, the newspapers’

SkyCall appeal raised enough money to buy two portable ultrasound scanners. GNAAS crews have already used the equipment to make life-saving decisions. The scanners – roughly the size of a smartphone – give medics a clearer picture of internal injuries or complications.

Andy Dalton, GNAAS paramedic, said: “In the case of a cardiac arrest, it allows us to see what the heart is doing and to make a decision on how to treat the patient. We’ve used the ultrasound scanners on patients already. They’ve been a huge help.”

“We’ve been amazed

by the response

to SkyCall. We’d

like to thank every

single person who

has contributed to

the appeal, their

money is making

a real difference

to people’s lives.”

– Grahame Pickering MBE GNAAS Chief Executive


These are just two

examples of innovations

introduced after research

by GNAAS clinicians.

In 2014/15, the charity

appointed one of its

doctors to lead a project

aimed at increasing the

amount of research being

undertaken. It is hoped

this will lead to even

more pioneering projects


Jill Libby, 57, has volunteered with the charity for nearly two years. Jill, from Ingleby Arncliffe, North Yorkshire, was airlifted by the charity in 2012. She was out cycling when two cars collided, one of which struck her at 50mph. She was thrown 20 metres through the air by the impact and suffered serious injuries to her head, chest and arm.

Two and a half years on, Jill, a mother of six, began volunteering with GNAAS at the charity’s head office in Darlington. She works one day a week, counting cash and inputting data. She also helps out at fundraising events, such as the

CornShed music and beer festivals. She said: “I really look forward to my days with GNAAS. I’d never thought about how the charity was actually run before and now I have a great appreciation of all the behind-the-scenes work.

“New to the office environment, I was unsure about what to expect but everyone is really welcoming and I enjoy doing lots of different things. At first, it was a bit of a challenge, but I wanted to give something back.”

Jill is one of dozens of people who regularly give up their time to perform essential duties for GNAAS. If you would like to join her, please get in touch.


“I have made friends with other volunteers who have been

rescued and I guess I feel an affinity to them.

“I felt empowered to take on an active role and it aided my

recovery by doing something useful, so it was good from a

rehab point of view. It has made me more self-confident.

“It is amazing that GNAAS is run on charitable donations

and this is a tribute to the charity and people who run it. The

amount of effort and generosity is astonishing.

I also have a greater appreciation for how

much volunteers at all charities do.”

– Jill Libby GNAAS Volunteer

The charity has a small team of public liaison staff, lottery staff, and volunteers whose job it is to generate enough money to keep our aircraft flying. This is a constant battle, as we look to enlist new supporters while encouraging existing ones to get behind the cause.

Picture 1: The 2014 Enchanted Forest Ball was held in both the North East and Cumbria. A combined 434 people attended, raising £18,391 for GNAAS.

Picture 2: The inaugural Nun Run, a partnership between GNAAS and Darlington Operatic Society, attracted 96 entrants.



- the amount generated in

2014/15 from our

fundraising activity.

Some examples:

Picture 3: Judy Kitching’s MBE long running CornShed Music Festival was joined by a beer festival, raising £26,734 for GNAAS in the summer of 2014.

Mandy Drake, Deputy Director of Public Liaison, GNAAS:

“Our aircraft cover an area of roughly 8,000 square miles. We have only a small team of full-time staff, and it is simply not possible to get out and about

across that area to spread the word about the work of the air

ambulance. Our volunteers therefore provide an essential link between the charity and the


Our aircraft and crew are part of a wider team of rescuers who must pull together to form a life-saving chain when called into action. Adrian Langford, who works as an emergency care assistant for the North East

Ambulance Service in Hexham, has witnessed first-hand the benefits of the wider team pulling together in a time of crisis. Adrian recently found himself first on scene at a collision between a motorbike and a car in rural County Durham.

The 47-year-old, who also works as a sailing instructor, said: “The patient was able to get to

hospital quickly which saved around twenty minutes of extra journey time. It was a potential life saver.

“The benefit of having a doctor on board the aircraft is that they are able to give a more

advanced assessment of a patient, followed by additional treatment, including specialist drugs, as appropriate. This preserves life, promotes recovery and prevents any deterioration.”

The wider team

“There are lots of

examples like this,

when GNAAS have been

able to bring a doctor

to a patient, or fly us

closer to the patient,

or save us having to

make a journey at all.”

– Mike Blakey Patterdale MRT

“There is a great deal of teamwork involved in these

type of rescues and everyone works

together for the best outcome.

“A long journey can be made more quickly and

comfortable by GNAAS. It provides a smooth

ride which can be crucial for a patient in a lot of pain.”

– Adrian Langford North East Ambulance Service

Mountain Rescue Teams are a key part of the emergency response in areas hard to reach by road. GNAAS crew members frequently find themselves working shoulder to shoulder with their mountain rescue colleagues throughout the region, but particularly in the Lake District, where the inhospitable landscapes attract outdoors enthusiasts from all over the world. An injury which in any other location would be easily treatable and not a risk to the patient can become something else entirely when sustained on a remote and exposed hilltop. In such circumstances, hypothermia is a very real risk.

This is where the mountain rescue experts come in. Teamwork is essential to save time, effort and, ultimately, the patient’s life. GNAAS forms one link in this chain; the mountain rescue charities constitute another. Mike Blakey, Patterdale Mountain Rescue team leader, said the physical challenges presented by the fells actually galvanise the rescue team members. He added: “I have nothing but praise for the work of the Great North Air Ambulance Service. We enjoy a really strong and positive working partnership with the crew. “On Helvellyn recently, for example,

a man had fallen in a thick fog. Us, the air ambulance and the RAF Sea King pooled resources to reach the patient and deliver care to him.

Dr Dave Bramley, Medical Director at GNAAS:

“The aircrew does not

work in isolation. Whether

it’s with the ambulance

service, fire and rescue

service, mountain rescue

teams or the staff when we

get to hospital, we are all

working together for the


sharing knowledge

GNAAS is at the forefront of pre-hospital care. The organisation has a long history of sharing knowledge for the benefit of the wider community. Training and work placements offered by GNAAS help drive up standards which benefits patients not just in the North-East, North

Yorkshire and Cumbria, but across the world.

Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine Crew Course (PHEMCC)

This course offers an up-to-date introduction to pre-hospital emergency medicine. It takes experienced practitioners and introduces them to the skills required to be effective pre-hospital

crew members.

The charity began delivering the course in 2003, alongside London’s Air Ambulance. Since its launch, the course has undergone numerous changes, reflecting the rapidly changing nature of the pre-hospital speciality. In 2014, two new course directors were chosen to enhance the premium quality of the course. In 2015, a second edition of the 200-page course manual was published.

For more information, or an application form, please contact:

Pre-Hospital Anaesthesia Course (PHA)

The Great North Air Ambulance Service PHA course provides candidates with the knowledge and skills required to work in a well-governed organisation that delivers pre-hospital

anaesthesia. The course has been running since 2007, and was the first of its kind in the UK. Uniquely, it is aimed at both doctors and paramedics, and puts great emphasis on the team approach to managing critically ill or injured patients. Students travel from across the world to attend the two-day course which is held three times a year.

For more information, or an

application form, please visit gnaas. com/training or call 01325-487263. Both of the above courses use a combination of interactive lectures and scenario-based learning with a strong practical element throughout.

Student training

GNAAS offers most of its placements to Teesside University students studying BSC (Hons) Paramedic Practice to provide additional practice and learning in critical and trauma care. The partnership, the first of its kind in the UK, formed in 2014 and since then students have been given the chance for a one-day fly out with the crew. Around six of the students are also offered a two-week critical care placement. Students are given guidance and support throughout their time with the charity and are provided with one-to-one training and the chance to practice scenarios, as well as attending real-life emergencies. The arrangement has since lead to around 50 students training at the charity’s Teesside and Langwathby bases.

Caroline Wright, 36, from Hartlepool, says her time spent with GNAAS was “unforgettable.” She added: “It gives students a real insight into the operations at the airbase and what type of jobs the air ambulance fly to. This means we will be better placed to understand the role of the air ambulance when we take up posts as paramedics.”

“Knowledgeable and approachable faculty,

good mix of presentations and practical sessions.”

“Enthusiastic instructors.”

“Very helpful and approachable tutors.”

“Learned a great deal and found the

opportunity to practice incredibly


– Quotes from previous students

“It gave me a great understanding of trauma and the

management of those situations. It was a fantastic

opportunity to learn from experts in the field. I feel

I have been set up for the future and have a broad

understanding of how to support aircrew.

“The exposure to different situations is brilliant,

as well as listening to on-scene decision making. I

learned such a lot working with an amazing team.”

– Caroline Wright

Kevin Hodgson, Director of Operations at GNAAS:

“These are the paramedics

of the future and it won’t

be long before we will

be working alongside

them out in the field. It is

hugely beneficial to have

colleagues who understand

our capabilities, what we

bring to the scene and

when we should be called

out. This project allows

us to propagate that


- the number of healthcare

professionals trained by

GNAAS on its PHA and

PHEMCC courses


The miraculous recovery of Nikita Smith has astounded medical professionals. The 18-year-old was left with multiple critical injuries after a road accident in the summer of 2014. Nikita, from Fryup in North Yorkshire, was riding her moped when it collided with a car near Danby in June. She was so badly injured that medics were unsure if she would even survive.

GNAAS doctor Mike Davison treated Nikita on the roadside. He said: “Clinically, she was almost dead.” Nikita’s heart stopped four times, twice in the helicopter and

twice at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, where she was flown to. If her heart had stopped a fifth time, it was said to be so weak it may not have started again, but Nikita showed the resolve then that she has shown since, and she slowly pulled round.

Dubbed “a fighter” by friends, family and medical professionals, Nikita has confounded expectations at every turn, firstly in surviving, then awaking from a coma after two months, and her subsequent recovery. Her mother, Sally-Ann, said: “We were told that she would be lucky if she was able to walk

again with a limp but she is very determined. She’s a miracle. Nikita has been able to move her

leg past the 20 degrees originally predicted and has currently reached 65.

“She is always pushing herself and the bone in her leg is healing well. The beginning of this

amazing recovery was all down to GNAAS.”

Nikita who was in the world’s top ten female motorcycle trials riders at the time of the incident,

still has dreams of becoming a professional rider one day. If not, she hopes to be a paramedic, after being inspired by the care given to her.

The family have already fund-raised for the service in a hope that they can one day save another life. Her next goal is a bike ride from Scotland to London, once she has recovered further.

“a fighter”

Nikita’s Story

One of our 869 patients:

“I was so emotional.

when we met, I just

wanted to kiss him. There

are no words to describe

how grateful we are. We

call GNAAS the ‘angels

of the sky’ and count

every day as a blessing.”

– Sally-Ann, Nikita’s mother, speaking of Dr. Mike

Dr Mike Davison, GNAAS doctor:

“Firstly I had to get her

heart started again, then

fit a tube to allow her to

breathe, and then put

two holes in her chest to

decompress her lungs so

they could reinflate. She

was as ill as you would

ever see a trauma patient.

If we hadn’t got there,

she simply wouldn’t have




Donations from individuals & corporate supporters

The cost of the care The cost of the essential

support services, including fundraising, without which we could not operate the air ambulance Fundraising activities including events Legacies Other Lottery subscriptions

Sources of Income:


Financial Information

Making Connections



£2.253m - 36%

£3.559m - 77%


- 23%

£0.423m - 7%

£2.33m - 38%

£0.039m - 1%

£1.11m - 18%

The charity therefore generated a net surplus in 2014/15 of £1.5m. This equates to less than six months of our operational running costs and is held for future investment and to provide a contingency fund to help us maintain our services. The information included in this report relates only to the charity. The charity is required to prepare consolidated financial statements for audit, these financial statements include the activities of the charity and its trading subsidiary.

- Our growing digital impact

Where our followers are from:

of website users access it on mobile devices

Twitter followers on April 1st 2015

of our Twitter followers are male during 2014/15

Facebook likes on April 1st 2015


The Imperial Centre, Grange Road, Darlington, DL1 5NQ 01325 487263 @GNairambulance





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