An air ambulance ran through the night on a Friday and Saturday for the first time in its history.
The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) operated from 7am on Friday March 29 and to 9pm on Sunday, March 31,
The service used its helicopters in daylight and Rapid Response Vehicles during the hours of darkness to attend 27 incidents across Essex, Hertfordshire and surrounding areas.
The ambulance’s pre-hospital care doctors and critical care paramedics attended traffic collisions, medical emergencies and traumatic falls, in one case providing pre-hospital emergency anaesthetic to a patient who was transferred to a major trauma centre.
Until now the service has only been operational seven days a week from 7am to 9pm, with rapid response vehicles used after nightfall on Friday and Saturday evenings until 2am.
Clinical director at EHAAT Stuart Elms said: “This important development has come after many months of preparation, including the recruitment of sufficient pre-hospital care doctors and critical care paramedics to cover the extra hours.
“It is a key step as we work towards providing a full 24/7 operation, which will start later this year. Extending our hours will mean that we can attend critically ill and injured patients across the region regardless of the time of day or night.”