THE Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) has received the highest Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating of Outstanding, following its latest inspection.

CQC inspections ensure health and social care services provide safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care, and encourage care services to improve.

The Air Ambulance's main service is providing life-saving care to the most ill and injured people in the North East, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and Cumbria.

Hexham Courant: The Guardian of the NorthThe Guardian of the North (Image: Newsquest)

They are a progressive organisation, pioneering pre-hospital care in the region, operating two helicopters every day, and a night-time service on rapid response vehicles.

Since 2002, the service has responded more than 23,500 times to different incidents, with road traffic collisions being the most frequently responded to by their critical care team.

The latest techniques, equipment and drugs are constantly evaluated to ensure the charity provides the best care possible.

Hexham Courant: Air Ambulance team members Air Ambulance team members (Image: Newsquest)

Andy Mawson, Director of Operations at GNAAS, said: "As an independent regulator of healthcare in England the CQC is fundamental to our ways of working. Their inspections are highly detailed, rigorous and designed to ensure that organisations that provide medical care do so in a way that keeps patients safe, that cares, is able to respond to the varying needs of the community and has the correct governance and leadership functions in place.

"To have been awarded Outstanding is a huge achievement. Whilst our teams responding by helicopter and rapid response vehicle are the most visible part of our service, and the care that we deliver the most important to our communities, there is a massive workload behind the scenes to make our service truly 'Outstanding'. 

Hexham Courant: Progress House critical care teamProgress House critical care team (Image: GNAAS)

"Every single person that has ever supported our cause has enabled this. From our lottery players to our corporate partners, our donors to our legacies, our runners to our communities. This is your success too so we just want to say thank you and we will continue to make you proud."

David Stockton, Chief Executive Officer at GNAAS, added: "This is an incredible achievement in any healthcare environment, but in a complex air ambulance service it is amazing.

"Credit has to go to the whole team in Operations who have put an unbelievable effort into the submission for the CQC, and the upholding of exacting standards. It is absolutely deserved, and hard earned, but validates the incredible work of our teams every day."