An air ambulance charity has been praised by a health watchdog after an inspection of its service.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust, based in Earls Colne, provides a free life-saving helicopter emergency medical service (Hems) for those who are critically ill in Essex and Hertfordshire.

Each Hems team consists of a pilot, co-pilot, pre-hospital care doctor and critical care paramedic.

While the Care Quality Commission regulates independent ambulance services, it does not have a legal duty to rate them.

The report said: “Staff treated patients with kindness, dignity, and respect. Feedback comments were 100 per cent positive.

“Patients and families were very appreciative of the patient liaison manager support for those with unanswered questions after treatment.

“The service actively supported staff through regular welfare checking and providing an open and supportive environment.”

Inspectors spoke with 13 staff including executive and management, trustees, critical care paramedics, doctors, and a clergyman.

Between January 1, 2017 and January 10, 2018, the airbase took part in 749 air missions.

Speaking about the report clinical director Stuart Elms said: “The report reflects the outstanding effort and hard work shown every day by the trust’s staff, whatever their role.

“It also highlights the dedication, professionalism and passion that we all have for delivering an outstanding service to our patients, whatever our roles in the trust.”