18 June 2017

New figures show that the regions’ three emergency medical helicopters have flown 40% more missions in 2016 than in the previous year. They often fly to the islands and sparsely populated areas of Denmark and thus ensure the citizens of more equal access to fast and highly specialised medical assistance.

In 2016, the regions’ three 24-hour manned emergency medical helicopters took off to assist critically ill and injured citizens a total of more than 3,500 times. This is a marked increase of approximately 40% relative to 2015, which was the first full year of operation of the service.

The increasing activity level shows that the emergency medical helicopters have become a natural part of the emergency response,” explains Troels Martin Hansen, Medical Director of Danish Air Ambulance.

“The regions’ Emergency Medical Dispatch Centres have become better at assessing when it is an advantage to dispatch an emergency medical helicopter. This applies, for example, when there is a need to bring highly specialised medical assistance quickly to the site and when there is a time-related gain by flying the patient to a specialised Hospital Department,” says Troels Martin Hansen and continues:

“Another part of the explanation is that we’re continuously developing the flight operative possibilities, enabling the helicopter to fly and land at night and in bad weather with reduced visibility and low cloud cover.”

Greater geographical healthcare equality

Many of the flights concern critically ill and injured patients in peripheral areas of Denmark, including flights to municipalities in Western Jutland, the islands and southern and western municipalities on Zealand. Here, with the help of the emergency medical helicopter, the citizens receive quicker access to highly specialised treatment when time is vital. Danish Air Ambulance thus contributes to equalising geographical healthcare inequalities and creating peace of mind among the citizens in the regions.

“The great advantage of the medical helicopters is that they cover large geographical distances quickly. They are therefore a strong supplement to the other emergency response services when citizens in the peripheral areas and on the islands of Denmark need emergency assistance. We’re proud that the medical helicopters can thus contribute to creating greater healthcare equality across Denmark,” says Svend Hartling, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Emergency Medical Helicopters.

Read more about the flight operative development, research and user satisfaction in the enclosed Annual Report 2016, which has just been published on www.akutlaegehelikopter.dk. Here, you can also see examples of patient treatment courses in which the emergency medical helicopter crew have made a decisive difference in collaboration with the other prehospital units.

About the life-saving activities performed by the emergency medical helicopters:

  • The helicopter is always manned with a pilot, a specially trained paramedic and a prehospital emergency physician, who can take life-saving action already on site.
  • More than every third flight is to a patient with cardiovascular disease symptoms. Other large groups are patients with blood clot or brain haemorrhage symptoms and patients with severe injuries, for example after major traffic accidents.
  • The helicopters form part of a close collaboration with the regions’ other prehospital resources. An ambulance is often the first to arrive on site to provide emergency assistance and can prepare the patient for quick loading onto the helicopter when it arrives.
  • During 2016, the three emergency medical helicopters flew a total of 3,593 missions, including transporting 1,690 patients for treatment at a hospital in Denmark.
  • The three helicopters have bases in Skive, Billund and Ringsted and are used throughout Denmark.

Further information

Svend Hartling, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Regions’ Emergency Medical Helicopters, tel. +45 4026 6887, svend.hartling@regionh.dk

Troels Martin Hansen, Medical Director of Danish Air Ambulance, tel. +45 4019 3203, troehans@rm.dk