A NEW team is helping Thames Valley Air Ambulance get potentially life-saving blood to patients at the scene of accidents.

The charity has hired two dedicated delivery drivers to collect blood and blood products like plasma for its helicopter and critical care response cars.

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Crews will now be able more easily transfuse to critically ill or injured patients at the scene of an incident.

Previously crews would collect the blood products while on shift but as they were on call making the vital collection could be delayed if a patient was in urgent need of their specialist skills.

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The new drivers now pick up the blood products daily from the team at the transfusion laboratory at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

Specialist cool bags contain two packs of O negative blood and two packs of fresh frozen plasma.

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Blood is given to patients who are bleeding heavily and who have very low blood pressure. In these instances, patients are often unable to get enough oxygen to their vital organs.

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The fresh frozen plasma is given as it carries the clotting factors which help to stop blood loss.

The charity's chief executive, Amanda McLean said: “It saves our crew valuable time, allowing them to focus on responding to and treating patients."