CRITICAL care teams from Essex’s air ambulance trust operated throughout the night for the first time.

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust helicopters worked during daylight and rapid response vehicles operated during the hours of darkness.

This is the first time in the charity’s 21 year history it was able to provide critical care non-stop across an entire weekend.

Until now the service has been operational seven days a week from 7am to 9pm, with an response vehicle being used on Friday and Saturday evening until 2am.

Across the three days, crews attended 27 incidents including serious road traffic collisions and medical emergencies.

Clinical director Stuart Elms said: "This important development has come after many months of preparation, including the recruitment of sufficient pre-hospital care doctors and critical care paramedics to cover the extra hours.

“It is a key step as we work towards providing a full 24/7 operation, which will start later this year.

"Extending our hours will mean that we can attend critically ill and injured patients across the region regardless of the time of day or night.”