The European HEMS and Air Ambulance Committee (EHAC) is the professional umbrella organization that unites, represents, and works for the interests of the international aeromedical community, and has done so for more than 20 years.
Since its launch back in 2000, the community has grown and adapted to the latest challenges and maintained the highest standards in the field of medical aviation. The founding members of ADAC, ÖAMTC and Rega continue as key members of the Committee. Their commitment, professional experience, and forward-looking initiatives, such as recent moves to adopt the use of sustainable aviation fuel, are a benchmark for the entire community.
The number of full and associate members is constantly rising, and while it has historically been dominated by HEMS operators, there are more fixed-wing air ambulance operators joining all the time.
EHAC board reflects diversity of HEMS operations
In June 2021, during the annual general meeting, a (partly) new Board was elected by the members that will take on the tasks of the Committee for the next three years.
The President of EHAC, following her reelection, remained ANWB’s Petra vanSaaze, who has accepted the role for another three years.
EHAC Board members for the next three years are:
- Stefan Becker (REGA, Switzerland)
- Frédéric Bruder (ADAC, Germany)
- Kjetil Indrevik (NOLAS, Norway)
- Reinard Kraxner (ÖAMTC, Austria)
- Dr Krystian Pracz (DRF, Germany)
- Tristan Serretta (SAF, France)
- Dr Peter Turi (TrustAir Aviation, Hungary)
Working Groups offer opportunities for development
EHAC’s Working Groups offer an optimal environment for both formal and informal exchange of technical opinions and experiences, which leads to a standardization of practice across Europe for the benefit of patients. EHAC has four working groups (Medical, Flight Ops, Flight Safety and Aeromedical Crew Resource Management), with each one made up of experts from the individual member organizations. In general, HEMS are strongly influenced by, and dependent on, the legal framework conditions of their respective countries. One of EHAC’s main duties is therefore to identify common interests between the operators that will enable us to speak to, and negotiate successfully with, regulatory authorities such as EASA.
The new Board will continue to support the foremost issues that were raised during the previous term, and also wishes to act in several other areas, such as discussing the challenges of the Covid pandemic. We intend to boost the activity of the Medical Working Group (MWG) during the coming months, while the Flight Ops Working Group will continue its active participation in the activities of EASA.
The MWG’s top priority during the coming months is the organization of the scientific program for the AirMED2022 World Congress. Beside this activity, the MWG aims to unite the member organizations’ experiences to work out and issue best practice advice in certain areas. The goal is to collect data and discuss treatment and logistical experiences on the transport of Covid-19 patients.
There are several other medical topics (for example, carrying blood onboard) where our community’s best practices could be considered as benchmarks for other operators and HEMS programs.
Participation in AirMED World Congress
Other important EHAC activities include attending annual industry symposiums, in particular the AirMED 2022 World Congress, which is usually held every three years. AirMED 2022 was postponed due to the pandemic and is a long-awaited occasion that will give the worldwide aeromedical community the opportunity to discuss the latest medical, regulatory, flight-related, management, finance, human factor, and strategic topics.
This will be a great opportunity to discuss medical, regulatory, and many other topics, should they be HEMS or fixed-wing related, arising from any part of the world. We encourage players from our profession both from HEMS and air ambulance providers to join us at the biggest event of the profession in 2022.