19-Aug-2016 Source: Maltese Government
An air ambulance service was inaugurated earlier this morning at Xewkija Heliport in Gozo. This inauguration follows the initiation of works at Gozo General Hospital a few weeks ago as part of a multimillion project to overhaul the health services in Gozo, including the rebuilding of the hospital.
The helicopter forms part of Vitals Global Healthcare, a €220 million investment, and will be carrying out a number of test flights between Malta and Gozo in the coming weeks. At the same time works will take place to convert the aircraft from a passenger helicopter into a fully equipped air ambulance that is expected to enter into service within the next couple of months.
Health Minister Chris Fearne said the vision for health is coming to life. Mr Fearne said the air ambulance will enhance the emergency services once fully operational and all flight tests are completed. “Having an air ambulance based in Gozo will enhance the medical services during emergency call outs when patients require further treatment in Malta. The aircraft is expected to be completely fitted with A&E equipment and a number of test flights between the two islands will take place to ensure maximum patient safety. These test flights will also be used for the training of clinical staff that will be on flights accompanying patients from Gozo to Malta.”
Minister Fearne expressed his gratitude to the Armed Forces of Malta who airlifted hundreds of Gozitan patients requiring medical treatment in Malta over the past years.
On his part Minister for Gozo Anton Refalo said that thanks to this €220 million investment, Gozo will have a brand new hospital as well as the prestigious Barts Medical School. “This investment will be yielding more to the Gozitan economy as it is expected to generate some €10 million worth of revenue.”
Minister Refalo added that both the Gozitan Business Chamber and the Gozo Tourism Association commented positively on this investment, which apart from increasing and improving the medical services on the island, it is expected to create more jobs and more business opportunities. “The government has committed itself to improve the country’s economy and results are there for everyone to see both in Malta as well as in Gozo”.
The air ambulance is expected to enter in service within the next couple of months. The aircraft will be based at Xewkija Heliport.