Cumbria's air ambulance has begun carrying a brand new type of medical treatment that could potentially save the life of someone who has suffered a chemical burn.

The Great North Air Ambulance, which operates across Cumbria and beyond and has a base in Langwathby, near Penrith, has been given for free a 12 month supply of a new type of treatment that could prove vital in saving the life of someone who has been burned by chemicals.

Dr Dan Bearn, one of the Great North Air Ambulance's doctors, explained the worth of this new treatment, which has been provided by the company Diphex.

"This specific agent is called Diphoterine solution," he said.

"It has been used in hospital environments for a while now and its job is to neutralise acid or alkali when they come into contact with the body.

"It’s potentially a sight-saving intervention that reverses chemicals and stops the burning process to prevent life-changing injuries especially to the face."

The solution can be applied to any area of the body that has been burned by chemicals, including the eyes.

"If a patient had suffered burns to the eyes and body, this agent could prevent the person from going blind," Dr Bearn said.

"With a chemical burn, the damage doesn’t stop, it will just continue to penetrate deeper into the tissue. This agent will help to stop that process."

Dr Bearn added that this sort of injury is rarely seen by the air ambulance team, but could be vital when treating a casualty who works in the chemical industry, or possibly someone who has been the victim of an acid attack.

Diphoterine has not yet been used by the air medics, but it has been used effectively in hospitals.

Dr Bearn said this new type of treatment "could mean the difference between a patient being blind and not blind.

"Loss of sight is the number one thing that can have a detrimental effect on the quality of someone’s life."

Dr Bearn said that the development of the treatment had been partly in response to the horrifying increase in acid and chemical attacks in the past few years, and that the Great North Air Ambulance's presence in urban environments using their overnight response cars means there is a greater chance of being called to this sort of incident.

"We also work in a region that is home to a huge chemical industry," he added.