New Zealand’s Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter Trust (ORHT) has reported 1,703 emergency patient retrievals as part of its 2020-2021 annual report, rising from just 1,328 emergency patient missions in the previous year.
The report, which covers the year preceding 30 June 2021, also reported a record 2,949 helicopter hours flown by HeliOtago – a 28 per cent year-on-year rise compared with 2,275 hours flown in 2020.
According to ORHT trustee Stephen Woodhead, this equates to approximately ‘eight hours a day’ in the air, with helicopters attending to four or five emergencies per day.
The HEMS and SAR service, which operates across New Zealand’s South Island, presented the trust’s annual report to their major funder, the Otago Regional Council, which donates NZ$350,000 per year to the organisation.
The report also highlighted developments in the organisation over the past year. This included investments in new facilities and equipment over the past year, including the purchase of a new Corpuls CPR machine and the acquisition of a new dedicated HeliOtago hangar in Queenstown, as well as the signing of a new strategic alliance agreement between ORHT, Helicopters Otago, and Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand, which formalised the relationship between ORHT and providers.