ANNUAL Report 2014/15
THE WORK WE DO AND THE DIFFERENCE IT MAKES
Eistered Charity No. 1092204
OUR YEAR IN NUMBERS
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:
To provide a
service for the people
of the region.
Our Core Value:
To make the care and
safety of patients our
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 Motorcycle: 76
medical cardiac: 84
medical collapse: 67
other trauma: 95
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
Great North Air Ambulance Service
Eistered 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
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
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
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: PHEMCrewCourse@gmail.com
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.
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.”
“Very helpful and approachable tutors.”
“Learned a great deal and found the
opportunity to practice incredibly
useful.”– 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
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.
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:/gnairambulance CARLISLE NEWCASTLE SUNDERLAND DURHAM MIDDLESBROUGH DARLINGTON WORKINGTON PENRITH WHITEHAVEN BISHOP AUCKLAND 5180 1175 2387 1831 1241 SOUTH SHIELDS HARTLEPOOL STOCKTON ON TEES REDCAR 465 766 913 595 2626 596 835 590 708 BERWICK-UPON-TWEED 472
£2.253m - 36%
£3.559m - 77%
£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 www.gnaas.com @GNairambulance