Redford releases video on Medevac services being moved from City Centre airport
The Alberta government is moving ahead with the transfer of Medevac services to Edmonton International Airport from City Centre airport, despite concerns about patient safety.
The move comes after Edmonton City Council’s decision to close the municipal City Centre airport to free the land for development.
Premier Redford release a video that addressed residents of northern Alberta, who have been concerned about delays transferring critically ill or injured patients from fixed wing aircraft to helicopters for the flight from the international airport to a city hospital. Previously, the aircraft flew directly to the city airport, which is much closer to local acute care facilities.
A group of northern doctors have organized the Save Our medevac Service to protest the government’s decision. They released an open letter signed by 36 practitioners Sunday in which they argue that for more than half of all patients served by Medevac minutes can be the difference between life and death.
“In emergency medicine, time matters and minutes count. An added transport delay of 30 minutes can make the difference as to whether the patient survives or suffers negative health outcomes,” the letter said.
The northern doctors claim the changes will double the time required to get patients to care: ”For some patients this delay will be too long and they will not make it. Others will suffer significant life-long complications from the delay to the needed treatment.”
But Redford says there is a patient care area on site, a dedicated ambulance fleet and protocols that state the most urgent patients will be flown to hospital by STARS helicopter, which are all recommendations of the Health Quality Council of Alberta.
According to Redford, the government is finalizing an arrangement with the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority to establish a site at the international airport for its passenger service.
As of March 15, government employees will no longer be boarding flights at the City Centre airport.
Government began exploring new locations for its flight operations following the City of Edmonton decision to close the City Centre Airport and its runways.
The province’s Air Transportation Service provides flight services for government business, including support during natural disasters or other emergencies.