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Northern NSW : Spring 2012
Westpac Rescue Helicopter Ser vice - Rescue Spring 2012 Page 3 The importance of being local Since 1975 the Rescue Helicopter Service has been working in our local community helping those that need us when and where needed. Over almost 40 years the Service has grown to meet the changing needs of our community. No longer the summertime beach patrol, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service now covers an area populated by more than one million people across the Hunter, Central Coast, Mid North Coast and New England North West region. To do this we have four helicopters that are operated by a team of highly experienced and skilled pilots, crews and paramedics that are supported by teams of engineers and administrative people that work tirelessly to ensure they are ready when we are tasked by NSW Health. That adds up to about 1400 missions each year. We can do this because our community makes sure we have the funds needed and we have a contract with the NSW Government to provide timely and local services. The Service was the front pages of the The Newcastle Herald in August because a number of missions in our region had been allocated to a Sydney based helicopter by NSW Health because we didn’t have a doctor on board. At the heart of the issue is the decision on whether NSW Ambulance personnel should be on board the local helicopters as they have been since the mid 1980s or if it should be the role of doctors. The standard across the state is that doctors are included on-board. That said, since inception Paramedics and Ambulance Officers have delivered the best standard of care that is possible. But if the Government is now changing the system, then the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Ser vice is ready to get on board and deliver that level of care. That decision is one for NSW Health in collaboration with the key stakeholders and we wait on a report commissioned by NSW Health expected later this month to determine the outcome. Richard Jones General Manager