Funding boost for Queensland’s EMS operations

Funding boost for Queensland’s EMS operations

3-Jan-2013 Source: Queensland Government

Increased funding for community-based emergency helicopter operators has been granted as the Newman Government considers plans for lasting change in their financial support.

A new funding model for these essential services is detailed in the Summary Report of the Review of Aeromedical Helicopter Services in Queensland – November 2012, released for consultation by Health Minister Lawrence Springborg today.

Mr Springborg forwarded the report for consideration by all community helicopter providers, and announced a boost in funding for so-called ‘overfly hours’, back-dated to July 1.

“This increase follows concerns from across the emergency helicopter network about the impact of rising costs,” Mr Springborg said.

“Overfly hours represent the time flown by each operator beyond the allocation in their existing deed of agreement. The change means that from July 1 this year, the amount paid for each overfly hour increases from $3,500 to $3,950.”

Mr Springborg said Queensland Health began work on the review of emergency helicopter aeromedical operations in February 2011.

He said feedback on the summary report and its proposals for lasting change would be gathered from community helicopter providers.

“New arrangements will come into effect from 1 July next year,” he said.

“Our emergency helicopter service providers have voiced concerns about funding arrangements for some time. Their services are absolutely vital to Queensland and I am keen to ensure they remain sustainable.

“Community helicopter providers operate in an increasingly complex environment that is subject to the most stringent civil aviation safety standards.

“This report has examined all the conditions and constraints and has come up with a recommended course of action. It makes recommendations about the standardisation of aircraft and training and safety procedures.

“Building on the existing system, it strikes a balance between essential operator safety and financial viability over the next 10 years.”

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