A RAPID response emergency care team is expanding its service in the region.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service runs an all-night road vehicle service two nights a week, but will now expand it to four nights a week in response to high demand.

The service was originally commissioned by the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to work on Friday and Saturday nights, from 8pm to 8am, and on an on-call basis the other five nights of the week.

But after attending 459 incidents in the last twelve months alone, GNAAS has decided to fund another two nights, Thursday and Sunday.

Andy Mawson, director of operations at GNAAS, said this was the next step towards a 7-day a week all-night service: "The cars carry exactly the same team as the aircraft does with exactly the same equipment, the only difference is that we can’t carry patients in the car.

“But what we can do is deliver the same anaesthetic procedures, the same surgery, and the same blood transfusions as we do on the aircraft. We can see the difference that is making.

“The collaboration with the ambulance service has been a success. It has allowed us to build the infrastructure needed."