SERIOUSLY ill and injured people in the North West will now have access to lifesaving blood outside of hospital for the first time, thanks to a new project.

The project has seen three regional health services, headed by the North West Air Ambulance charity, collaborate in establishing a network to administer blood transfusions at the roadside and in-the-field.

The charity, which flies 2,000 missions each year, estimates that three urgent blood transfusions are need in the region every week, and hope that the project will give people a greater chance of survival for those who have suffered major blood loss.

Blood will now be carried by NWAA paramedics and consultants who have been given comprehensive training to administer blood in-the-field by Salford Royal Hospital.

They will work in conjunction with Blood Bikes Manchester and the North West Ambulance Service with packed red blood cells and pre-thawed plasma supplied by Salford Royal and delivered by the Blood Bikes in temperature-controlled boxes to the NWAA Barton base each day.

Any blood not used that day by the air ambulance will be returned by Blood Bikes riders for use in the hospital, to ensure precious donations do not go to waste.

Clint Jones, NWAA consultant anaesthetist, described the project’s launch as a “proud moment”, adding: “After much preparation and planning, it is rewarding to launch the service onboard for the first time.”