The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has planned to develop a helicopter emergency medical service (EMS) to provide speedy treatment to needy citizens.
The Ministry believes that helicopters in an EMS role can provide a crucial service that can deliver emergency care quickly within the ‘golden hour’.
In EMS parlance, golden hour is the time period where access to definitive care within an hour of occurrence of life-threatening trauma can make all the difference between life and death.
“Helicopters in EMS role can greatly expand the capability by enlarging the medical outreach in an expeditious manner. It is later envisioned to incorporate a larger network to augment the land based ambulances to increase the accessibility of trauma care services to a wider population base across the country,” said the Ministry.
While issuing an expression of interest, the Ministry said that it intends to undertake a pilot project implementation of utilising helicopters in EMS role to explore the viability, benefits and risks, if any, so as to define the approach that can be adopted before larger resources are committed.
“MoCA proposes to seek an Expression of Interest (EoI) from air operators who can offer one single-engine or twin-engine helicopter in an air ambulance role with EMS capability for a period of six months based out of a helipad at AIIMS Rishikesh,” it said.
As per the document, the project would be located at AIIMS Rishikesh for a duration of six months which may be extended on mutual consent basis.
The air operations would be governed by DGCA regulations and the requirements of CAR Section 8 Series S Part VII – Operation of Aeromedical Transportation (AMT) will be complied for air ambulance operations.
The service will have one single engine helicopter with the capacity to carry a single patient on stretcher, one medical personnel inside cabin and one pilot with carry-on medical equipment as required, and should be able to fly to a distance of 300 km without refueling.
Since the area of operations include mountainous terrain, the air operator should be able to provide trained crew for the operations.
The helicopter will be based at the AIIMS Rishikesh helipad for the duration of the project and the air operator should make provision for necessary logistics.
It would be on daily stand by service from sunrise until sun set with 20 minutes response time. The minimum assured hours of helicopter utilisation would be 45 hours per month.