Essex & Herts Air Ambulance

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Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust
Essex Herts Air Ambulance-Logo.svg
Abbreviation EHAAT
Headquarters Earls Colne, Essex
East Anglia and London: mainly Essex and Hertfordshire
Key people
Jane Gurney – CEO

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) is a Charity Air Ambulance service providing a free, life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the critically ill and injured of Essex, Hertfordshire and surrounding areas. It is not funded by the NHS – only by charitable donations.

The charity aims to save lives, reduce or prevent disability or suffering from critical illness and injury, by delivering a first class pre-hospital emergency medical service.

Since fundraising began in 1997, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance has flown over 20,000 missions[1] – being deployed, on average, four to five times per day. The helicopters and Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) are based at Earls Colne Airfield and North Weald Airfield.[2]

It costs £6 million every year to cover all charitable costs and aircraft operations.[3]


Essex & Herts Air Ambulance provides Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) 7 days a week. On Saturday and Sunday, between 6pm and 2am, the Critical Care Team continues to operate via Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs). RRVs are also operational for the hours where the aircraft is unable to fly in bad weather or maintenance.

Each HEMS Team consists of a Pilot, Co-Pilot, a Pre-hospital Care Doctor and a Critical Care Paramedic, who can be rushed to the scene of an incident with life-saving support equipment to deliver advanced clinical care that is normally only found in the hospital emergency department. The dual pilot scheme was introduced in 2016 to enhance patient care[4] - as previously the paramedic would act as navigator, aiding the pilot.

EHAAT works in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust who monitor incoming 999 calls and, according to clinical need, dispatch the Critical Care Team from the Critical Care Desk based in the Emergency Operation Centre at Broomfield Hospital. The desk is manned by a Critical Care Paramedic and a Dispatcher to ensure appropriate tasking.[5]

The helicopters take off within two minutes of the emergency call being received at the Airbase. The helicopter based at Earls Colne can reach the farthest point in Essex in less than 20 minutes and the helicopter based at North Weald can reach the farthest point in Hertfordshire in less than 15 minutes. Once a patient is stabilised the HEMS Team will triage patients to the most appropriate hospital if they require specialist care, such as a Major Trauma Centre. This saves vital minutes between onset of illness or time of accident to the patient receiving specialist medical care in hospital. The helicopters and RRVs can also carry cutting edge life-saving medical equipment and drugs, much of which will not be found on standard land ambulances - along with the Doctor, who can perform life-saving open heart surgery and general anaesthesia at the roadside.[6]


One of the current aircraft in use by Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, an Agusta Westland 169.
G-HHEM landing at its launch event in 2017.

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance utilises two helicopters and six rapid response cars to transport their pre-hospital care teams.

G-EHEM landing in Harwich, Essex at the Charity's Motorcycle Run event.
G-SSXX: operated between 2003 and 2010
G-HAAT: operated between 2008 and 2017
G-EHAA: operated between 2010 and 2017

Current Fleet:[edit]

Both current helicopters entered service in August 2017. The helicopters have the ability to access remote parts of Essex and Hertfordshire quickly. They are not affected by the ever-increasing traffic congestion on our roads and country lanes. The helicopters can also reach areas inaccessible to land vehicles including woods, beaches, docks and golf courses.

G-HHEM – AW169[edit]

In March 2016, EHAAT signed a contract with aircraft operator, Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) to secure the purchase and operation of an Agusta Westland 169 (AW169) – the leading edge helicopter for emergency medical service operations.[7] This is the first time in the Charity's history that they have been able to purchase an aircraft. It was delivered in August 2017, along with G-EHEM.

Based at North Weald, Hertfordshire.

Callsign: Helimed 55

Financial status: Wholly owned by charity

G-EHEM – MD902 Explorer[edit]

G-EHEM, previously G-LNCT at Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, continues to be leased from Specialist Aviation Services (SAS).[8]

Based at Earls Colne, Essex.

Callsign: Helimed 07

Financial status: Leased from Specialist Aviation Services (Medical Aviation Services)

Rapid Response Vehicles[edit]

Each base has two RRVs for the medical crew to operate from when helicopters are offline in darkness and bad weather. Each base operates a Vauxhall Insignia VXR and Skoda Octavia Scout, both with four-wheel-drive capability to allow the team to reach the patient in any weather conditions in any location.

When RRVs are operated, the callsign is changed from 'Helimed' to 'Medic' to signify they are a ground-based resource.

As of January 2018, new two new Volvo XC90s have been delivered and are being branded to work alongside the current fleet.[9][10]

Past Fleet:[edit]

G-ESAM – Essex[edit]

G-ESAM was a Bölkow 105, operated between 1998 and 2003.

Financial status: Leased from Bond

G-SSXX – Essex[edit]

Eurocopter EC135 operated from May 2003 until 2010.[11]

Financial status: Leased from Bond

G-HAAT – Herts[edit]

In 2008, the first Hertfordshire aircraft launched, an MD902 Explorer.

Financial status: Leased from Specialist Aviation Services

G-EHAA – Essex[edit]

In 2010, in line with the new aircraft for Hertfordshire, Essex's aircraft was upgraded to an MD902 Explorer.

Financial status: Leased from Specialist Aviation Services

Rapid Response Vehicles[edit]

Previously the Trust operated a single Rapid Response Vehicle. This was a BMW X3, which has now been re-livered into a charity advertisement vehicle, advertising the work the charity does.


The Essex Air Ambulance Charity was established and began fundraising in 1997, launching as a dual paramedic and single pilot service from New Hall School in Boreham, Essex in July 1998.[12] In 1999, the service began operating 7 days a week, during daylight hours - as oppose to the previous 5-day service.

In 2003, the Essex Air Ambulance was upgraded to a Eurocopter EC135 T2.[13]

In April 2007 the Essex Air Ambulance charity became known as the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT), responsible for both the Essex and the new Hertfordshire Air Ambulance services. The Hertfordshire Air Ambulance was introduced on 5 November 2008.[14] With the launch of the Hertfordshire aircraft, Essex's operational colour stayed as yellow and Hertfordshire gained red – both of which featured on the helicopters G-EHAA and G-HAAT.

Doctors were introduced to the Essex Air Ambulance Air Crew in July 2008[15] – this new Doctor/Critical Care Paramedic model is used on both aircraft at all times. Pre-hospital Care Doctors could then work alongside specially trained Critical Care Paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trustt to optimise patient outcome. Doctors are employed by Mid Essex Hospital NHS Trust, on behalf of EHAAT - except for a team of consultants, who are seconded from some of their hospital work. Paramedics are provided by EEAST. All paramedics are trained to Critical Care qualification, while doctors have a sub-speciality in Pre-hospital emergency medicine. The team of doctors also included a small number of Consultants.[16]

In 2011, The Essex Air Ambulance's operational base moved from Boreham to Earls Colne Airfield and the Charity Head Office and Essex Fundraising Team move to Earls Colne Business Park in March 2015.[17]

In March 2017, to coincide with the Charity's 20 year anniversary, a new brand was launched which unified Essex Air Ambulance and Herts Air Ambulance, bringing them together for the first time to signify the united future of the Charity.[18] Before this, both helicopters would interchange between Essex and Hertfordshire area on almost a daily bases - despite the names.

Pre-hospital Care Network in the East of England [edit]

This charity is one of many Pre-hospital care providers in the East, which has an established trauma network – the first to be fully operational in the UK.

Other Pre-hospital care providers that they work and train alongside are:

The East of England teams commonly end up working alongside crews from Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, London's Air Ambulance and The Air Ambulance Service, along with other BASICS charities.


  1. ^ "Mission Updates". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  2. ^ "About EHAAT". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance – EHAAT. 
  3. ^ "Annual Review 2016/17" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "About EHAAT". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  5. ^ "The Critical Care Desk (CCD) - EAAA". East Anglian Air Ambulance. 19 April 2016. 
  6. ^ Ellis, Dan; Hooper, Matthew (26 March 2010). "Cases in Pre-hospital and Retrieval Medicine". Elsevier Health Sciences. 
  7. ^ "About EHAAT - Our History". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  8. ^ "G-EHEM G-LNCT N40483 McDonnell Douglas MD902 Explorer C/N 900/00134". 
  9. ^ Ambulance, Essex Air (5 Jan 2018). "Our new Rapid Response Vehicles have arrived! Here is a sneaky preview as we send them off to be branded... watch this space!". @Essexairamb. Retrieved 2018-01-07. 
  10. ^ "Eyes on EHAAT: New RRVs". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance – EHAAT. 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2018-01-07. 
  11. ^ "About EHAAT - Our History". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  12. ^ "About EHAAT - Our History". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  13. ^ "About EHAAT - Our History". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  14. ^ "About EHAAT - Our History". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  15. ^ "About EHAAT - Our History". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  16. ^ "Our People". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  17. ^ "About EHAAT - Our History". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT. 
  18. ^ "About EHAAT - Our History". Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - EHAAT.