Canterbury missions up 40 percent
Canterbury’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter recorded a 40 percent increase in mission numbers for the first six months of 2021, reflecting a focus on faster treatment and better patient outcomes.
Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust Chief Executive, Christine Prince says the new helipad at Christchurch Hospital, which can take two choppers at a time, has been a gamechanger for the service with over 500 landings since it opened in November last year.
From 1 January to 30 June 2021, the Canterbury-based crew flew 404 missions, compared with 289 during the same period last year.
Across the regions, July saw 97 missions alone, including eight missions in just one day. The majority were attending accidents or medical emergencies.
“Last weekend, the crew responded to eight missions across the region, including cardiac, maternity, several inter-hospital transfers and accidents. As anticipated, mission numbers have increased this winter, with more people travelling locally and an increased risk of accident injuries and medical missions in the colder months.
“In trauma cases, such as road accidents and medical emergencies, getting emergency treatment to a patient at the scene within 60 minutes of an incident increases the patient’s chance of making a full recovery by over 80 per cent. In remote and hard-to-reach areas, the rescue helicopter service can mean the difference between life and death.”
Christine Prince says as the need for the choppers’ life-saving service increases year on year, there is still a lot more to do to fundraise for the widening gap.
“The introduction of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) this year, which enables the pilots to fly in adverse weather and low-cloud conditions, will give crew access to areas previously unreachable except by road, and increase mission numbers further,” she says.