CareFlight to fly more children across New South Wales

CareFlight to fly more children across New South Wales

28-Nov-2012 Source: CareFlight

National aeromedical charity CareFlight has been selected by the NSW Government to fly medical teams from the Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS) from January next year.

Starting on 1 January, CareFlight will provide two helicopters to fly the NETS teams and patients from all over NSW to leading metropolitan hospitals in Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra.

The 24-hour operation will be located at the NETS helipad adjacent to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

CareFlight chief executive officer Derek Colenbrander said CareFlight has a long history of providing aeromedical services for children.

“The first two flights made by CareFlight in July 1986 were to children injured in a car crash near Lithgow who were transported to hospital in Sydney,” Mr Colenbrander said.

“That tradition continues today with CareFlight flying to a large number of child trauma cases in Greater Sydney.

“Additionally CareFlight medi-jets are used to transport ill and injured children across Australia, while we transport children through the Northern Territory Medical Retrieval Service which CareFlight operates for the NT Government.

“This long history of caring for kids means we are the ideal service to undertake this very important mission, in partnership with the NSW Government.”

CareFlight operates a fleet of helicopters and aeroplanes across Australia. For NETS, under the 54-month (four and a half years) contract, CareFlight will operate a new Bell 412 supported by a BK-117.

“This is welcome news for the community which has supported our charity so strongly over the past 26 years through donations, the purchase of CareFlight bears and other fundraising activities,” Mr Colenbrander said.

“CareFlight will continue to work with the community as this additional service will ensure the best possible outcome for the children we will fly.”

About CareFlight

CareFlight is a national aeromedical charity which has been established for 26 years. The aim of CareFlight is to save lives, speed recovery and serve the community by providing the highest standard of rapid response critical care.

Our beginnings were humble with just one helicopter based at Westmead Hospital in NSW. One doctor was on duty each day, transporting an average of four patients per month. Thanks to continued community support, CareFlight will now operate five helicopters, six turbo-prop aircraft and charter two medi-jets. Across Australia CareFlight has 10 doctors on rostered duty every day of the year, flying to over 400 missions each and every month for our own operations and under a contract with the Ambulance Service of NSW.

As an Australian charity, CareFlight uses the helicopters, jets, road ambulances and aeroplanes to provide emergency hospital care to patients. CareFlight International Air Ambulance also flies missions anywhere in the world. Under a contract with the NT Government CareFlight operates the Top End Medical Retrieval Service across vast areas of the Northern Territory.

Employing our own doctors and nurses, CareFlight provides a hospital level of specialist care to patients wherever they need it. CareFlight trains over 40 registrar doctors each year in retrieval medicine. To do this, the organisation holds accreditation with three medical colleges covering the critical care fields of Anaesthetics, Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care.

CareFlight has a track record for achieving “Australian firsts” in aeromedical services including night vision goggles for aero-medical purposes, stretcher bridges, retrieval packs and rapid launch physician intervention. In June 2012, the Head Injury Retrieval Trial (HIRT) was completed. The aim of this clinical trial was to demonstrate that the delivery of trauma physician management to accident scenes will improve outcomes for head injury patients. The results are out and are extremely compelling. This trial has the potential to change the way that patients suffering head injuries are treated throughout the world.

In 2011 CareFlight launched the CareFlight MediSim program. This is a medical simulation program to teach rural emergency service volunteers how to better treat trauma patients. These volunteers are often the first ones to arrive on scene at a major trauma incident. What they do in the first few minutes can have a major impact on the outcome for the patient. This innovative program is provided at low or no cost, and it will be a benefit to people who live in rural and remote areas. CareFlight MediSim began with 15 courses in NSW, and today we are providing 30 courses across three states. The expansion will continue throughout Australia in 2013.

Providing a dedicated helicopter service for NETS, from 1 January 2013 under a contract with the NSW Government, CareFlight will fly neonatal and paediatric patients from across NSW to hospitals in Sydney, Canberra and Newcastle.

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