H.E.R.O.S. Backs Call for Medical Emergency Transportation
Prince George, B.C.- The Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operations Society (H.E.R.O.S.) is backing the call for medical helicopter service in Northern B.C.
Last week, BC Forest Safety Council Ombudsman, Roger Harris, released a report that called for the service to ensure those who live and work in the north, have the same access to health care as those in the lower mainland.
H.E.R.O.S. has been pushing for this kind of service for several years, saying medical outcomes would be improved, and lives could be saved if an emergency medical helicopter transportation service was in operation in the North.
“We will no longer accept the argument that because we choose to live, work and play in rural and remote areas we should have to bear greater risks in the event of an accident or serous medical incident” states H.E.R.O.S President Brent Marshall in a release. The Society has been advocating for the use of rapid-response air ambulance helicopters which can reach every person in the province, no matter where they are, and deliver them directly to a hospital.
The Society points out that delays in patient transportation can lead to “increased morbidity of injuries, resulting in longer recovery times for patients and loss of productivity in the workforce.”
In his report, Harris recommended the province “consider mandating – through legislation or policy – guaranteed timelines for the public to be able to access Trauma 3 level care, similar to other jurisdictions.”
The Chair of the Board for Northern Health, Dr. Charles Jago, admits, patient transportation is a major concern “The transportation of patients to higher levels of care is a huge big issue for Northern Health. It’s not just fixed wing aircraft, not just helicopters, it’s a whole range of things. But it’s not part of our mandate, it lies with emergency Health Services B.C. through the Public Health Services Authority. We’ve been working with them intensively, we’ve identified systemic issues, we’ve been asking them to address them , we’ve improved the situation somewhat through our addressing it with them, but it is a major issue.”
Dr. Jago agrees with the report that the longer a person has to wait for treatment, the worse the outcome, “All I can say is it is a huge issue for Northern communities and every time we do a consultation with communities it comes forward as a major issue and we’ve been working hard to address it, to understand it, to do a statistical analysis to understand it. We are working on it, for sure ”