HomeEHAAT creates a Centre for Excellence
28 April 2023

EHAAT creates a Centre for Excellence


The pieces are coming together in helping to deliver a step change for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) in enhancing the level of care it delivers, with the announcement of the creation of a Centre for Excellence.

Headed up by Project Lead, Dr Gareth Grier, the Centre for Excellence is seen as a pivotal move for EHAAT in delivering its vision; to create a world-leading community through which pre-hospital care is developed to achieve the best possible outcomes for all patients.

Dr Gareth Grier said: “We are proud of the history of our service, especially the major achievements that have been delivered over the years. With a vision that is bold, innovative and sits at the heart of our community, together with this new and ambitious structure, our Centre for Excellence will build on the hard work that has already positively impacted so many people in our region.

“Importantly, we are reshaping our approach to education, research, and innovation across areas of the advanced medical care that we provide, creating a framework where, working collaboratively with our partners and the wider community, the highest possible standards of pre-hospital clinical care can be reached.”

The Centre for Excellence is underpinned by its four pillars: Research and Scholarship, Innovation, Education and Training, and Community, which support three overarching clinical domains, and targeted areas of focus:  cardiac arrest, head injury and patient experience and outcomes.

Cardiac arrest, where the heart suddenly stops, is hugely time critical where help must be delivered within minutes in order for a patient to survive. Where family members and onlookers intervene with chest compressions and the use of a defibrillator, survival rates can be remarkable. The Centre for Excellence will have a specific new focus on how it can help more people receive CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) training in the community, so when the unexpected happens, they can help.

EHAAT’s medical teams already deliver world class care for patients who have suffered a head injury. However, they believe there are even more opportunities to improve outcomes as they intervene during the vital early minutes after a head injury has occurred.

Dr Grier explained: “We will focus on how world-leading research and innovation can help us set a new bar in the care that can be delivered.  We understand the impact that a head injury can have on patients and their families and are determined to do everything possible to make improvements for them.”

Being suddenly injured or having a sudden illness, can be a hugely frightening and traumatic experience for both patients and their families. The difficulties experienced can last for many weeks, months, and even years after EHAAT’s clinical teams have delivered the initial care.

“Our Patient and Family Liaison Team has made a huge difference in recent years,” Dr Grier continued. “So there is an intention to significantly increase our ability to provide support, care, and compassion for our patients and their families, way beyond the crucial initial phase.

“Our relatively small team of dedicated and specially trained nurses and paramedics offer meetings with patients and their families, where they can help to offer explanations about their situation, signposting to organisations and individuals who can provide additional help, and perhaps provide some hope where a major life-event has happened.

“In recognising the enormous difference that contact with our team after an event can have, we are extremely keen to expand our team and offer even more help in the future.

“We have a perpetual vision here at EHAAT, and we are always aspiring to do more; creating an environment where these specific topics for pre-hospital care have been brought together is a key step forward.

“However, fundamentally, as a charity, the donations that we receive are crucial, so we have the ability to push the boundaries of pre-hospital care in the coming decades and have a focussed and determined team who will do all they can to make this happen. So, on behalf of the clinical team I would like to thank everyone who donates to support the work that we do.”

EHAAT’s CEO Jane Gurney, said: “Achieving clinical excellence sits at the centre of our ambitions with patient experience and outcomes encompassing all our activity, so the Centre for Excellence is a really exciting step for us. I am truly delighted the charity, supported by our Trustees, is now building on the incredible work we are doing day in day out, to change the face of pre-hospital care within our region and beyond.”

Main photo shows Dr Gareth Grier, Project Lead for the Centre for Excellence. Gareth is a consultant in emergency medicine and prehospital care. He has spent 30 years undertaking prehospital care in various organisations including voluntary aid societies and for mass gathering events. Gareth re-joined the EHAAT team in March 2022, as the project lead for its Centre for Excellence. He is a senior lecturer in prehospital medicine at Queen Mary University, London, where he designed the intercalated BSc and MSc degrees in prehospital medicine. Gareth was the founder of The Institute of Prehospital care and has been responsible for the training and education of countless clinicians over the years. He regularly delivers lectures and educational events locally, nationally, and internationally and has travelled to many countries to share thoughts on the management of injured patients during the very early phase of care.

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