In order to stay at the forefront of pre-hospital care, GNAAS has committed to a programme of clinical innovation.

The latest techniques, equipment and drugs are constantly being evaluated to ensure we can provide the best care possible for our patients. This often means we are pioneering treatments years before they reach other parts of the country. Here are some of our recent successes.

Improving care through IT

The charity developed its ARC-EMS software in 2016 to handle the complexities of managing, logging and auditing incidents. The software provides a live snapshot of where the crew, aircraft and cars are at any point, allowing rescues to be coordinated remotely.

Precise details of patient care are logged securely. This extensive data resource, including drug usage and inventories, provides an comprehensive research tool that is already proving to be a catalyst for improvement.

In 2019, the charity developed the system further by introducing a tablet version, allowing 24/7 management of deployments which is vital for the charity’s rapid response crews.


In 2018, the charity became one of the first emergency services in the UK to utilise the GoodSAM app in its deployment decisions. The app allows our team to see the scene through a bystander’s camera phone, simply by sending them a text message.

This means our clinicians can get a better understanding of an incident without having to rely on sometimes sketchy 999 call information. It might mean spotting troubling symptoms that have been missed by the member of the public, or it could be that the patient is not as seriously injured as initially reported.

The system is regularly used by the team and means they are able to make more informed decisions before deploying the aircraft to an incident.

Blood and plasma transfusions

Our doctor Rachel Hawes OBE, who is also a consultant at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, instigated the Blood on Board project in 2015. Her research led to the introduction of ‘live blood’ on our helicopters and rapid response cars. She also oversaw the introduction of plasma the following year. Pre-hospital transfusions had not previously been possible in the North of England.

The introduction of blood and plasma took our care to another level and resulted in lives being saved as a direct consequence. Blood on Board is only possible thanks to the work of the Blood Bikes charities and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


transfusions in 17/18


unexpected survivors in first five months of trial


hours - the time the blood is kept cool in our special boxes.


of trial recipients had been involved in road traffic collision

Other innovations

Ventilators upgraded

The charity's on board ventilators, one of the most crucial pieces of equipment when dealing with major trauma, were upgraded. The new ventilators are much more akin to what would be found in the hospital. They allow for much more precise control, giving more options when treating patients with complex clinical requirements.

Ongoing REBOA study

Our clinicians are examining options to introduce the use of REBOA - which stands for Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta. REBOA is an advanced technique which can help control haemorrhage in trauma patients.

Stroke outcomes could be improved

GNAAS has been working with a teram of researchers to see how its air ambulance service may be utilised to transfer patients suffering a stroke from remote hospitals to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, if the patient could be helped using a technique called thrombectomy. This revolutionary treatment is only available at specialist neurological centres and involves a wire being passed into the blocked blood vessel in order to remove the clot, therefore allowing the blood to flow back to the area of the brain that was starved of it during the stroke.

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