After a successful trial period last summer, the B.C. government announced the launch of a dedicated helicopter air ambulance to B.C. Central Interior on Aug. 30.
With an estimated annual cost of $2.35 million, the B.C. Ambulance Service’s Critical Care Transport helicopter is now available 12 hours a day, seven days a week to transport patients in the Interior in critical condition.
“Our region includes geography that can present a challenge for those responding to medical emergencies. This option will help address long distances and mountainous landscapes,” said Interior Health CEO
Dr. Robert Halpenny.
This is the fourth dedicated air ambulance in the province, with two in Vancouver and one in Prince Rupert.
“Everyone knows about ‘The Golden Hour’, that tight, precious window of time when people’s chances of survival and optimal recovery are highest,” said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger. The launch of the air ambulance will improve the chance of patients making it to hospital in that critical window.
During the trial period, the air ambulance was deployed 62 times and transported patients to hospitals in Kamloops, Kelowna and Vancouver over the two-month period.