Qeeenstown in News Zealand has its first dedicated Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) helicopter which has already proven to be ‘‘a real big asset” after an influx of call-outs since it arrived.
The Queenstown arm of the Otago Rescue Helicopter team, operating from the Heliworks hangar in Frankton, had completed 58 missions between the new base opening on November 1 and December 20, 2018
Team member Daniel Bentley, who has been a St John paramedic since 2003, said the number of operations had ”certainly stepped up a lot” since the base opened.
‘‘I have worked in Queenstown for a long time and that is certainly a lot more jobs than what we were doing on the rescue helicopter then.”
He said the new and improved chopper could not have come sooner and was great to work on.
”It’s brilliant really, as a working environment it is a whole lot better than the smaller machines that we were used to, in terms of being able to treat the patient, access the patient and work there.”
He said the team’s first call-out on its first day at the new base “really demonstrated what an amazing facility we have, that we can very quickly project a really high skill level down to a situation, or a scene. We were there very, very quickly and that’s really a way that you can make a difference.”
Ian Ridley, manager of the new base and former St John medic of 30 years, said the new helicopter and base were ”a real big asset” for the area.
The service is now provided by Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand Limited, a joint venture between Helicopters Otago and Christchurch-based GCH Aviation.