Seven hospitals in British Columbia experienced a suspension of their air ambulance service for several days since Friday, 12th August. According to the service provider Helijet, they were informed by Transport Canada that their service wasn’t complying with federal regulations in regards to hospital landing pads. As a result, the provider had to withdraw its services from the seven hospitals located in Vancouver Island and the South Coast.
The Root of the Problem
According to Helijet’s Vice President, Rick Hill, this issue was caused by how officials interpreted the performance standards provided in the manufacturer’s manual. According to this manual, the helicopters used by the company don’t come with the performance capacity required to land at certain helicopter landing pads. These are the helipads classified as H-1 under Transport Canada. These come under the strictest standards as they are surrounded by numerous structures including buildings.
Hill further said that the Helijet helicopters have the performance capacity and this current error is a result of an administrative issue. Helijet looks forward to being able to resume its air ambulance service at the seven hospitals as soon as possible in order to save lives and help those in need.
Helijet Files for Temporary Exemption to Resume its Air Ambulance Service
Helijet appealed with Transport Canada to be able to get temporary exemption and resume its services shortly. Among the seven hospitals currently not being serviced by an air ambulance are B.C. Children’s Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, and Nanaimo General.
Although this temporary exemption won’t solve the issue, Helijet plans to address the problem and resolve the issue with Transport Canada along with the helicopter manufacturer, Sikorsky. Officials from the hospitals express their concern about lack of an air ambulance servicing their hospitals but also mentioned how safety shouldn’t be compromised.