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Posted On: 10 June 2008 09:04 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Round-the-clock chopper emergency service for Qatar

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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The National Health Authority (NHA) is planning to introduce 24 hour helicopter emergency medical service in Qatar beginning September. The move follows the success of the helicopter emergency service launched by NHA on a trial basis six months ago, in collaboration with the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at Hamad Medical Corporation and the Gulf Helicopters company. NHA has now launched the service, named LifeFlight on a permanent basis and plans to make it round-the-clock from September, NHA CEO Dr Michael Walsh said yesterday. The service is currently available only during daytime. The pilot project began its operations on October 12 last year for a period of six months that ended in April this year. “The idea of the trial was to confirm if such a service is safe and successful in Qatar. We wanted to test the performance of the helicopter as well as the medical staff and the official regulations governing the helicopter emergency retrieval service in the country. The trial has been successful," said Walsh. Penny Price, executive director, EMS department at HMC and Mohammed Hilal Obaid, captain of the helicopter were also present. The helicopter-MD 902- has been proven to be safe, with an excellent operational track record, and capable of operating in a range of terrains, and climates making it the best option to operate in Qatar's sometimes hot climate, said Walsh. “We have now decided to continue the service and plans to make it 24 hours through out the year. Two new helicopters (one operating, one back- up) are being purchased and should arrive in September. More staff are being trained, so that after the summer this round-the-clock operation can start," he added. Currently the service does not undertake sea rescues. However, NHA is having discussions with the Oil and Gas sector to introduce the service offshore, said Walsh. During the six month trial period, the helicopter team conducted 427 missions of which 111 were medical and 316 were trauma cases.