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Air ambulance to carry life-saving blood from Addenbrooke’s

For the first time, East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) will be able to carry out blood transfusions on every mission, as a permanent part of emergency services.

The initiative involves a daily supply of red blood cells from Addenbrooke’s blood transfusion lab being packed into insulated boxes. The boxes are then taken by ‘blood bikes’ to Cambridge airport, ready to be put on board the air ambulance.

CUH blood transfusion laboratory manager, Katherine Philpott, said:

We are delighted, thanks to the generosity of donors, to be able to prepare and package blood stocks to help EAAA save the lives of people treated at short notice and in difficult conditions.

Katherine Philpott

“We wish them continued success with this service, which often results in the transportation of patients back to Addenbrooke’s for further care.”

Katherine Philpott explains more

Katherine Philpott explains more


Blood transfusions ensure patients suffering a major bleed have the best chance of getting to hospital safely by increasing oxygen delivery and clot production.

EAAA’s Blood on Board project involved raising more than £90,000 and partnership working with Addenbrooke’s, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and two volunteer-driven blood bike charities, SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Blood Bikes.

SERVE blood biker Mick Thurman with the EAAA
SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire operations manager Mick Thurman arrives at the East Anglian Air Ambulance with blood from Addenbrooke's. Picture: EAAA.

The hospitals’ job is to source, check and provide the red blood cells and the motorcyclists are key to getting them from the hospitals to EAAA every evening, and returning any unused blood back to the hospitals.

EAAA head of operations, Richard Hindson, said:

This entire project has been successful thanks to the generosity of the public and the fantastic partnership working between Addenbrooke’s, NNUH, SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Blood bikes.

Richard Hindson

“I’m hugely grateful and really proud to know that going forward we will have the blood products available on every mission for the patients where these treatments might be the difference between life and death. It is a privilege to work alongside other charities and hospitals whose main aim is to save lives and achieve the very best outcomes for our patients.”

Delivering the treatment will require year-on-year to funding. To find out more visit To learn more about the blood bikers visit