Meet to focus on infrastructure for heli-ambulance

September 27th, 2010 - 5:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Sep 27 (IANS) The fourth national seminar on ‘helicopter emergency medical services and development of heliports/helipads’ in this tech hub Tuesday will focus on building infrastructure for helicopter ambulances.

“The day-long conference will also deliberate on how crucial is heli-ambulance service to save patients during the golden hour, especially in grid-locked metros and cities of India,” Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI) southern region president Wing Commander Unnikrishna Pillai told IANS here Monday.

Aero medical specialists in choppers provide advanced life support to serious patients in-flight or at the accident spot. The copters are turned into mini-intensive care units (ICUs) for trauma care to individuals and mass casualties.

According to state-run Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd, there is an urgent need for about 100 heli-ambulances across the country to provide emergency medical services and another 80 for disaster management.

Organised by the state-run RWSI, the seminar will educate stakeholders on promoting such an efficient service and on building capacity to popularise it.

The Indian hospital industry is keen on introducing the heli-ambulance services soon, as many precious lives can be saved and avert national loss of human resource.

“But at Rs.200,000 per trip, heli-ambulance service is cost prohibitive if hired privately and becomes affordable if hospitals and service operators join hands to provide such a life-saving mode,” Pillai said.

The heli-ambulance service is, however, not covered by insurance yet.

About 120 delegates from across the country, representing healthcare, insurance, copter service firms and related sectors are participating in the conference.

India has a fleet of 260 private copters, including 40 used for oil and gas exploration.

In contrast, the US has a whopping 11,860 choppers, Canada 1,675 (rotorcraft) and Japan 940.

In times of natural calamities and medical emergencies, the government deploys military choppers to evacuate the affected people.

“The choppers are mobilised from helicopter bases located nearer to the place of disaster,” according to OSS Air Management, a copter service firm.

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