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Chamber Charity Spotlight | Great North Air Ambulance | Sept 2023

14 September 2023

Charitable work is an excellent way to enhance your businesses CSR, in addition to giving you and your team the “feel good factor” Every month the Chamber Newsletter will be highlighting the propositions and projects of our individual Charity members and educating you on how and why your business might choose to become a supporter. This month we hear from the team at Great North Air Ambulance.

Tell us about your charity and what your aims are?

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is a charity-funded air ambulance service that provides life-saving care to the most ill and injured people in the Isle of Man and the North of England.

We operate two helicopters 365 days a year and cover an area of more than 8,000 square miles. On board our helicopters are specialist doctors and paramedics who effectively bring the hospital directly to the patient.

We only respond to the most severely ill and injured patients. Our team are working to support services provided at the existing medical facilities of the Isle of Man to enhance the level of patient care that can be provided on the island. 

We are tasked by Manx Care when they identify that the skills we can bring will make a difference to the outcome of the patient. Not only are we able to bring advanced medical care directly to the scene of the incident, but we can then transport the patient to a major trauma unit in the UK, saving valuable time when it matters most. It only takes 30 mins to fly from the Isle to landing at a specialist hospital in England.

We have been responding to critical incidents on the Isle of Man since April 2022, and have been deployed 32 times. Our specialist team have carried out multiple interventions which would not have been possible with a standard road paramedic crew, including putting patients in medically induced comas, administering blood transfusions, and carrying out chest surgical procedures.

We currently receive funding to help provide our advanced medical care to the Isle of Man until April 2024 following a year’s continuation to the initial contract from Manx Care, but beyond this has not been confirmed.

To ensure our service can continue bringing 21 years’ experience to the Island, we need the support of the community behind us.

We want to be there for anyone who needs our critical care to help save their life, but we wouldn’t exist or be able to deliver this without the support of the communities we serve.

With your support, we can be there for more people in desperate need of advanced medical intervention.


What current projects are you undertaking or have in the pipeline?

Whilst delivering our service in the Isle of Man is still relatively new, our years of experience and exposure to critical incidents means residents and visitors receive the highest standard of pre-hospital care. However, we don’t stop there.

To stay at the forefront of pre-hospital care, we have committed to a programme of clinical innovation. We are constantly evaluating the latest techniques, equipment and drugs to ensure we can provide the best care possible for our patients.

Over the next two years, we will be trialling carrying whole blood on board our aircraft and rapid response vehicles, which will be used to treat severely injured patients at risk of bleeding to death. Whole blood contains red blood cells, plasma and platelets (which help with clotting) all in one bag. Previously our team have administered blood transfusions using red blood cells and plasma, so the trial will be looking at the clinical and cost-effectiveness of pre-hospital whole blood administration in comparison to the blood products we currently use. The trial is being undertaken by ten air ambulance services, including ours, and we are looking forward to building on our previous research into blood transfusions and the potential benefit this will have for our patients.

Another project is increasing awareness and understanding of our service in the Isle of Man. We have recently on-boarded a new fundraiser to help spread our message, educate people on the difference we make and to aid fund raising to ensure we can continue responding in the future. Whilst the funding from Manx Care until April 2024 allowed us to begin responding to incidents, it is not guaranteed after this point and does not cover the associated operating costs required to be able to sustain the service.

We appreciate that many charities simply do not have the resource or skills required for example to market themselves, run social media platforms or carry out functions such as HR or accounting. If any Chamber members wished to support your charity by offering some time, what kind of skills would you be appreciative of?

We are now in our twenty-first year of delivering critical care. In this time, we have built a robust but lean team that helps enable our service. However, support is always welcome to help alleviate any costs associated with this.

In addition to the above how can the business community support your charity?

The support of the business community is vital to ensure we can continue to respond to incidents on the Isle of Man. Every commitment of support allows us to plan for the future of our service delivery and be there for more patients and their families.

Please consider choosing us as your partner charity, whether this is via a contribution to our cause, hosting events to raise funds or looking at other ways we can work together to aid our mission. Every action really can help save a life.

Finally, where can our members find more information or contact you?

Sophie Van Hooven is Fundraising Lead and would love to speak to you. Email her on

You can also visit, or call 01325 487 263.