We are currently living in uncertain times but in light of the ever-evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent response to it, we would like to reassure the public that the critical care teams from the Great North Air Ambulance Service remain active across the entire region.

We have had to develop new procedures while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) which will enable our teams to continue to respond to critical care emergencies even if the situation significantly worsens.

For all patients we’re now wearing surgical masks and aprons to allow safe assessment.

If we find it necessary to deliver critical care we will then fully kit up in head to toe PPE with a Tyvex coveralls and hood, FFP3 mask, multiple layers of gloves, shoe protectors and plastic aprons.

The enhanced level of care offered by our teams is considered to be very high risk of viral transmission because this care often involved invasive airway management and surgical techniques.

For this reason we are also waiting for personal issue respirators to ensure our team has access to the best protection we can when operating in an already uncontrolled environment.

The teams have trained in their PPE to help familiarise themselves with scenarios they may face and also know how to correctly put on and take it off.

This training was put to the test immediately when our Cumbrian team were required to perform a pre-hospital anaesthetic – one of the most complicated and important of the procedures we carry out – while wearing the equipment. The patient had collapsed with a serious medical problem but received the same level of care they would have done in normal circumstances.

It just shows the importance of thorough preparation as the team was able to immediately transition to working in a way that two weeks ago may have seemed alien to them.

As with everything our teams do, these preparations have only been possible with the support of the public.

It’s not just the new equipment that is paid for through donations of one kind or another. From the aircraft and cars that enable the missions, to the clothing the teams wear and the drugs that they administer - if you’ve ever donated, however large or small, this is where your money goes.

We’re expecting to see a downturn in income due to cancelled fundraising activity so if you value the work of our charity, we would love for you to continue to support us.