The government of the state of Galicia is reported to have cut flying hours for EMS helicopters in an apparent cost-cutting exercise, according to the locally based 20Minutos, among others.
Traditionally, two helicopters have operated in daylight hours for the last 25 years, which gives at least 15 flying hours in mid-summer. However, it has now emerged that the change of management of the helicopters from the Emergencies Agency to the Healthcare Agency has had other implications. The helicopters are now available for a maximum of 12 hours on any day, irrespective of the time of year. Longer daylight times in summer means that a total of 380 hours are lost from operational availability. Local press have not investigated the time line for incidents to know what impact this would have on the emergencies that have been attended in the past – it is possible that the first or last three hours of a 15 hour day could be much quieter than the middle part of the day, and the overall impact of less flying hours is reduced. However, it is clear that the location of key trauma centres is such that some large towns are a 60-90 minute land journey away, a situation where helicopters would be a key advantage. That land journey time would be applicable at night, with or without the reduction in flying hours.
HeliHub.com understands that the two helicopters involved are EC135s operated by INAER Spain.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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