A team from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) has pioneered a new kit bag aimed at making their patient care more efficient.

When GNAAS is called out to a critically ill patient, seconds count and since the development of these 15kg kit bags, the critical care team has seen shorter on-scene times which has ultimately resulted in better patient care.

GNAAS paramedic, Lee Salmon, was part of the team of five who came up with the concept. Mr Salmon said: “These new bags contain all our medical equipment.

“They are a modular system, comprising of two main bags, a monitoring bag, and a procedure bag. They are also supported by small modules that can be clipped to each bag to change its operational capability.”

Inside the new kit bags, you can expect to find a ventilator for protective ventilator strategies for those patients who are critically ill, as well as a butterfly scanner ultrasound so the team can do scanning on patients and see whether they have any internal bleeding.

There is also a defibrillator and monitoring unit to look at patients’ observations.

Mr Salmon said: “The bags function as a miniature on-the-move A&E unit, but right by the side of the patient when they are fighting for survival.

“They will allow us to take critical care equipment to the scene of the patient with ease. We can’t always walk back to the aircraft – if we were going to a patient on a mountain top, for example – so we will always want to take this with us.”

Hansell Composites from Stokesley helped GNAAS to design and manufacture the structure of the bag and Cumbrian-based mountain equipment manufacturer, Aiguille, also collaborated with the team to create a bag that can carry a heavy load, safely and ergonomically.

Before the bags were designed, members of GNAAS’ critical care team would have to go back to the aircraft for certain bits of equipment or ask the ambulance crew to get the things that we couldn’t carry. This essentially created a time delay.

The new bags will be used on every job GNAAS attends, from serious head injuries to large road traffic collisions.

Mr Salmon said: “In situations like this, the new bag system will save lives and justifies the time, cost, and collaborative approach to getting it right.

“We are always looking for new ventures, pieces of equipment, and possibilities on how to make people’s lives better, and the public support in this endeavour is greatly appreciated.”

GNAAS relies on donations to survive. Please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01768 899 150 to support the charity, which operates from Langwathby, near Penrith.