Helicopter Retrieval Plan for NSW


Minister releases their blueprint for the state. 

ASMOF was approached with minimal notice this week to participate in a briefing at the Ministry to coincide with an announcement by the NSW Government.  This announcement was the release of the adopted blueprint for helicopter retrieval in the state.  This follows a lengthy review process during which ASMOF and its members contributed feedback.

Click on the below PDF link to access the actual report.  Check out the weblink below to access other related documents and fact sheets prepared for each base.

2013.07.17 - NSW Govt Helicopter Retrieval Plan for NSW 2013.07.17 - NSW Govt Helicopter Retrieval Plan for NSW (3873 KB)

At first glance, the changes lead to an increase in retrieval doctors (11.5 FTE in total).  There will be differing impacts on each base and the provision of such services will continue to be subject to tender based on the state being divided in two regions. 

It also seeks to move to a standard doctor/paramedic model for all pre-hospital missions.  For inter-hospital transfer missions, a doctor/nurse or doctor/ paramedic model will continue to be used depending on patient need.

Some of those locations that previously relied on a pool of staffing will now move to a 24/7 rostered on base model (Newcastle for one).

Setting aside clinical or governance issues that may arise from any change, one point that will require further exploration is the comment that “... NSW Health will continue to engage a range of organisations to provide doctors for helicopter missions, including NSW Ambulance, Local Health Districts, Specialty Health Networks and private and not for profit agencies. As a guiding principle, there will be only one employer of medical staff on each base to reduce complexity.” ^ 

This update was distributed directly by ASMOF to retrieval doctors and those who provided feedback in the consultation process immediately following the Minister’s announcement.  


^ Reform Plan for Aeromedical (Rotary Wing) Retrieval Services in NSW, pp 15