New Emergency Air Ambulance for Citizens | Western Cape Government


New Emergency Air Ambulance for Citizens

8 June 2005
New Air Ambulance
Min Pierré Uys talks to the press
about the air ambulance
The Western Cape Health Department and SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service have joined hands to bring the first air ambulance to the South Cape Karoo. The new Helicopter Emergency Medical Service was launched on 3 June 2005 at the Oudtshoorn Hospital.

The BO15 helicopter will enable the Department to deliver emergency care and transport to its patients in the region. It will cover a 200km radius to attend to the sick and seriously injured. The helicopter will service Beaufort West, Plettenberg Bay, Heidelberg, Calitzdorp, Uniondale, Touwsriver, Knysna, Ladismith, Laingsburg, Leeu Gama, Mosselbay, Prince Albert and Riversdale.

People who are injured on the so-called "Road of Death" between Beaufort West and Laingsburg will be flown straight to George Hospital. Pierre Uys, MEC for Health said the service holds huge benefits for its patients with "the rapid transfer and its specialised in-flight care." Another benefit of the service is that it allows for increased availability of existing ground ambulances for emergency response within their local communities.

With a lift-off time of five minutes for emergencies and 10 minutes for inter-hospital transfers the new service was described by Uys as one of the department's aims to reduce response time for emergencies.

In addition to the Oudtshoorn Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, similar services are offered in the Boland/Overberg, Metropole as well as three quarters of the Western Coast. "The aim is to provide a seamless aero-medical service to all communities of the Western Cape," said Uys.

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