AN essential life-saving service patrolling the skies of South Bucks will be more effective than ever, as Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulances announced they will be carrying blood reserves aboard their helicopters.

The organisation said it will now be carrying two units of blood on board their vehicle, starting immediately.

Dr Syed Masud, HEMS consultant for the charity, said "About half of all deaths are due to bleeding or complications resulting from it. Injury, shock and blood loss all contribute to a failure of the body’s normal blood clotting mechanisms (coagulation), which then leads to more bleeding".

Research from military surgeries and resuscitation in places such as Afghanistan has led to the understanding that blood is the best replacement fluid for victims of trauma, but the biggest issue has always been the transportation of the blood. Dr Masud added "The invention of the specialised "blood cool box" allows the TVACAA to carry and store blood for 72hrs. Blood not used will be recycled within the hospital so there is no wastage."

"Doctors and technicians from the blood transfusion service at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, have worked closely with the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust, to become only the second HEMS/ Air ambulance in the country to carry this life saving initiative."

"This is an excellent example of how expertise within the NHS and the charity have worked together to ensure "gold standard" medical practice for victims of major trauma. "