The first of eight new ambulance helicopters have hit the NSW skies, bringing round-the-clock care to patients in regional parts of the state.
The eight choppers, each carrying a doctor and paramedic on every flight, will be based around the southern half of NSW, Wollongong, Orange, Canberra and the Sydney-Bankstown region.
Two operational choppers and a spare lifted off for service in Bankstown on Friday with the rest, including a neo-natal chopper, to be rolled out by mid-year.
A further four helicopters are due for the Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore region later in the year.
The fleet is part of the NSW government’s $151.2 million Helicopter Retrieval Network, which NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said on Friday will improve coverage for rural, regional and remote NSW.
The Toll Rescue Helicopter Service will operate on a 24-hour basis at Orange and Wollongong to ensure faster emergency care is available in both regions.
Toll Helicopter general manager Mark Delany said the company’s pilots and crew are some of the most highly trained aviation professionals in the nation.
“The communities of NSW and ACT can be assured that they have the safest and most capable aviation operation supporting their ambulance care,” Mr Delaney said.
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