Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) will officially be allowed carry blood supplies on board its emergency vehicles this month.

Staff onboard helicopters and Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) will be able to give pre-hospital, life-saving transfusions at the scene of an incident from Wednesday, March 20.

This major development will provide a significant improvement and reduce the time lost in having to take a patient to a hospital to receive blood.

EHAAT Clinical Director Stuart Elms said: “This exciting new venture for EHAAT has been many months in preparation and will make a significant difference to the most critically injured patients in our region.

“We have been working closely with our partners at The Princess Alexandra Hospital and our colleagues from the EVBS to ensure a safe, continuous temperature-controlled supply of these vital products with a wish for zero waste.

“Traditionally patients have had blood lost replaced with saline which has many limitations when what they need is the oxygen-carrying capability and clotting factors of blood products.”

Tracy Nevin, blood transfusion specialist practitioner at The Princess Alexandra Hospital, said: “We are so delighted and excited to be working in partnership with EHAAT in providing emergency blood at the roadside.

“We have developed such a positive working relationship in such a short time that we’re elated to be going live.”

The EHAAT helicopters and RRVs will carry packed red blood cells of blood group O Negative, meaning they can be used on any patient.

When required, these will be given with plasma, the other major component of human blood, which together, will form an effective replacement for patients.