Air ambulance crews used blood products carried on board their vehicles to carry out a transfusion for the first time.

The critical care team from the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) charity had to perform a pre-hospital blood transfusion on a male patient involved in an accident on April 12.

This is the first time that the charity has used the blood products that have been stored and carried on the helicopters and rapid response vehicles for the last month.

The emergency response vehicles carry blood supplied from The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. The type, ‘O Negative’, means it can be used on any patient.

It is delivered daily to EHAAT’s Airbases at Earls Colne and North Weald by riders from Essex Voluntary Blood Service (EVBS) and replenished as required.

The ability to perform a pre-hospital transfusion could be a life-saving intervention for patients with blood loss and can reduce the time lost to take a patient to hospital to receive blood.

Clinical director Stuart Elms said: “It has taken a lot of work from our partners at Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Essex Voluntary Blood Service to be able to carry blood on board our helicopters and rapid response vehicles.

"We are pleased that their efforts meant we were able to provide this potentially life-saving intervention for this patient.”