- Posted February 27, 2014 by
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
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National Ambulance CEO Robert Ball on Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) in Abu Dhabi
National Ambulance & Abu Dhabi Aviation recently launched the private Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) for ADNOC. Can you give us an overview of this initiative?
BALL: Abu Dhabi Aviation and ourselves started looking for business opportunities to work together. Abu Dhabi Aviation are excellent with helicopters; what we bring to the equation is experience in paramedic services. So together, we were able to offer a unique service offering to the ADNOC group of companies.
What’s the difference between HEMS and rescue-type services?
BALL: Helicopter Emergency Medical Services, or more commonly known as HEMS. The difference between HEMS and, for instance, where people may have seen a person hanging out of a helicopter, which is a rescue services, is that HEMS is essentially a patient transfer service. So with this service, what you have is a unique combination of two very skilled Western trained paramedics in the back, being able to transport up to two patients in a Bell 412 helicopter. It means a patient can be quickly evacuated from anywhere within the UAE in just under an hour.
How does this service compare to similar initiatives in other parts of the world?
BALL: This is the first dedicated, private Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in the UAE. It's predominant targeted, or it is for the oil and gas industry, under the ADNOC group of companies.
What are the major challenges you’ve had to overcome in providing medical care and treatment to remote facilities?
BALL: With the rapid expansion in the economy of the UAE, oil and gas is a key part of that. To meet this challenge, the number of oil and gas sites is also increasing, which also means an increase in staff. These staff are often working at remote and offshore sites.
The benefit of having a dedicated HEMS service such as the one we're providing with Abu Dhabi Aviation, means that any member of the ADNOC group of companies who is injured or has an illness, can be evacuated from the base where we are picking them up, to get them back to a primary health care facility in just under an hour.