Värmland County’s new air ambulance is here. It arrived in Karlstad in mid June, and it is expected to be operative in August. The longed-for helicopter, a French EC 135 P2, is here on an interim basis, while waiting for the permanent acquisition process to be finalized.
The helicopter will be operating from a temporary EMS station at Karlstad Airport, where it will function in a newly established intensive-care unit that consists of one helicopter and one specially equipped emergency response car. One pilot, one anesthetist and one “HEMS crew member” (a specially trained flight nurse) will be manning the unit in a 24-hour alert.
– This feels good because we can offer an even better, faster and safer medical care to the most seriously ill and injured patients, says Fredrik Larsson, county board chairman.
The staff will now focus in training and preparation works before the formal Air Operator Certificate (AOC) is in place. Once in service the county has signed agreements with its neighboring municipalities and counties that allow an unlimited regional coverage in both Sweden and Norway.
– This boundless coverage has been our goal all the time, and it means that we will work together across the borders. The helicopter that is closest to the patient will perform the mission, said Tobias Kjellberg, health care manager, Värmland County Council.
Värmland’s County will become the first region in Sweden to operate its own EMS helicopter. The structure corresponds to the “Vård på Vingar” study that was published by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL) in September 2012. Dalarna’s County will be the second to follow through joining Värmland’s AOC in a shared local federation. Dalarna is expected to be operative in mid 2015. The federation is now looking for further counties to join the structure.
In June 2010 Värmland’s County Council decided that the regional HEMS coverage had to be ensured from mid 2014, and in November 2012 the council decided that the region was to have its own aircraft. The council took the formal decision to buy an own helicopter instead of leasing it in February 2013, and following a public tender the choice was set for the new Eurocopter EC 145 T2. However, the decision was appealed, and in May 2014 the Swedish Court of Appeal legally canceled the decision, forcing the council to redo the whole tender. The newly arrived EC 135 will now serve as a temporary stand-in aircraft while waiting for the new tender to be finalized
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