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NWT Medevac Patients to See Improved Services with Opening of the Air Ambulance Facility at Edmonton International Airport

Yellowknife (May 14, 2013) –Effective May 14, the new Air Operations Centre at the Edmonton International Airport will begin taking NWT patients through the GNWT medevac program.

“Our government is committed to ensuring that our patients receive good medical care while being transported to Edmonton hospitals in a safe and timely manner,” said Minister of Health and Social Services, Tom Beaulieu. “We have worked in partnership with Alberta Health Services to develop procedures and plans so that our patients are able to get to the hospitals in a safe and timely way, while maintaining high standards for their medical care. I believe that we have achieved our goal and in fact have improved the quality of their care.”

The Alberta Health Services air ambulance facility is located in the same building as the STARS helicopter. In rare circumstances, the most urgent NWT patients can be flown by helicopter to a hospital. The facility itself has a six bed patient transition room with paramedic staff to support in-bound and out-bound stable patients and aid in coordinating medevac flights held in Edmonton. It also has dedicated ground ambulance shuttles with paramedic staff that allows the medevac crew to transfer most patients at the airport, so that they can return to full service more quickly.

“The Air Operations Centre at the Edmonton International Airport offers a greater level of patient care and ensures timely, safe transport for northern patients,” says Dr. Ian Phelps, Senior Medical Director for Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services.

“The new facility offers many advantages such as the ability to transfer patients indoors in a controlled environment and dedicated ground transportation vehicles and crews to support the arriving air ambulance crews.”

The GNWT has been using tertiary level care services at Edmonton hospitals for several years, and has transported NWT patients requiring this level of care through the medevac program.  Following Alberta Health Services’ decision to relocate the Edmonton medevac operations to Edmonton International Airport, the GNWT has worked as equal partners towards accessing the Edmonton International Airport services for medevacs to Edmonton.

For more information contact:

Damien Healy
Manager, Planning and Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Tel: (867) 920-8927
Email: [email protected]

Joanne Anderson
Senior Communications Advisor – EMS
Alberta Health Services
Tel: (403) 943-1257
[email protected]