Steward Health Care Malta announced further improvements to the air-ambulance service which is used to transport patients from Gozo to Malta, through the upgrading of the air-ambulance helicopter and the introduction of an additional aircraft to be used as a stand-by back up option.
The new air-ambulance being brought in is an Airbus Helicopter EC135 type, which is the most common type of air-ambulance helicopter across the world. The EC135 is a twin-engine light helicopter with a maximum take-off weight of 2,800 kg, which can carry one stretcher patient and up to three accompanying medical crew.
In addition to this, Steward Health Care Malta will also be upgrading the service through the introduction of a back-up aircraft of a similar kind.
Commenting on the improvements, Dr Nadine Delicata, President of Steward Health Care Malta, explained that the current service Steward is running is already a massive improvement on the previous arrangement which relied solely on the AFM to transport patients, and which required a clinical team from Mater Dei to be picked up from SLH Helipad prior to flying to Gozo. The current operation, she explained, has the Steward air-ambulance permanently based in Gozo, and staffed around the clock, with clinical teams leaving with the patient from Gozo General, thus saving at least 60 minutes of precious time that is so critical to ensure improved patient outcomes.
“While our current set up is a significant improvement to the past arrangement, we wanted to go a step further in providing our community with air ambulance cover in any eventuality. Through the introduction of a modern aircraft, and a back-up service, we are ensuring that our people are covered when the aircraft is down for both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. In this way we are not only fulfilling our obligations under the concession but going above and beyond to make sure that the highest level of care is provided to our patients, notwithstanding the cost.”
The new service is expected to come into effect as of February 2020 and will be run in conjunction with Gulf Med Aviation Services, a Maltese helicopter operator and maintenance provider.