Scandinavian Air Ambulance has been awarded a new contract by the Norwegian government to provide communities across Norway with vital air ambulance support, parent company Babcock reports.
The six-year deal, with options to extend to 11 years, has a value of around £500 million, said the firm. It will see Babcock operate 11 specialist fixed-wing aircraft, including a Citation Latitude jet, giving patients critical access to specialist healthcare centres nationwide, particularly those in the north of the country.
Babcock said the planes will become operational when the contract commences in 2019. Each will be fitted out with custom-designed medical interiors, featuring hospital-standard equipment. They will form a key part of Norway’s overall healthcare infrastructure, where hospitals are increasingly developing specialist skills and capabilities for particular areas of treatment, said the company.
In a statement, Babcock said: “The introduction of a jet aircraft is a new development for the service and will dramatically reduce patient transfer times, allowing for direct patient flights across the whole of the country for the first time.” Babcock predicts the contract will create or sustain up to 100 jobs across seven Norwegian air bases – five in the north of the country, one on the west coast and one in Oslo.
Marius Hansen of Babcock Scandinavian Air Ambulance said: “We are proud to have been selected to deliver this critical aspect of Norway’s healthcare infrastructure. As hospitals become specialised centres of medical excellence, it is more important than ever to have a trusted system in place to transport patients swiftly and safely, with expert care, to where they can receive the best possible medical attention. This contract comes with a tremendous responsibility and will draw on the years of experience we have in delivering critical patient air ambulance care across Scandinavia.”
The geography of the north of Norway, and in particular the archipelago of Svalbard, mean a fleet of fixed-wing aircraft are best suited to provide fast and efficient patient transport, said the firm.
Hansen added: “By introducing a jet for the first time, we will dramatically reduce the time it will take to transport patients to the right hospitals. It is not only faster in flight, but it has improved range, too. This means we can provide direct flights for the first time, dramatically reducing the time it takes to move a patient to a specialist care unit – no matter where in the country they are.”