Expansion of Air Ambulance Services

Expansion of Air Ambulance  ServicesExpansion of Air Ambulance  Services

Deputy Minister of Health Mohammad Haji-Aghajani has announced the expansion of air and ground emergency services as part of the national Health Reform Plan.

He said the existing facilities cover 70% of the country, but considering the situation on the ground where emergency services are facing serious limitations, creating 44 more air emergency stations has been found to be a necessity.

Iran has a high rate of traffic accidents. Annually about 20,000 people lose their lives and more than 800,000 people are injured in road accidents. The best and most suitable means of rescue and transportation of injured patients is air ambulance. Like ground ambulances, air ambulances are installed with medical equipment vital to monitoring and treating injured or sick patients, ISNA reported.

Covering ‘blind spots’ (not within reach of ground ambulance) including minor and rural roads, impassable areas and crowded roads where traffic is an obstacle, is part of the process to improve  ‘patient transfer quality’ and decrease the time taken to transport the sick or injured to medical centers. These are the main objectives of the air emergency expansion program, Haji-Aghajani said.

 Critical Care

The benefits of air services particularly arise in blunt trauma patients, especially those severely injured in road traffic accidents. Helicopter emergency medical services provide the much-needed critical care during transfer time.

Coverage of minor and rural roads, mountainous and rural areas within a radius of 150 km from the location of the helicopter station, improving the ability to respond to unexpected disaster damages, aerial assessment of areas in crisis and the level of crisis to determine the appropriate responses, ability to transfer equipment and medical teams to the accident location, and rescuing people from blocked roads, are among the achievements of the air ambulance program, Haji-Aghajani said.

Following the implementation of health reforms since late July, the number of air emergency stations have increased to 14 in Tehran, Shahroud, Zahedan, Shiraz, Qom, Mashhad, Kerman, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Shiraz, Qazvin, Alborz, Bushehr, Mazandaran, Hamedan and Ahvaz cities. Also the average of daily air emergency missions has increased from 1.58 to 4.57.

Between July 23 and August 29, 125 missions helped in transferring 239 injured patients to hospital, by air ambulance services. During this period, 9.3 million injured were admitted to emergency rooms in state-run hospitals by ground emergency services.