The SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service (AMS) was awarded an interim three-month Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) contract by the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Health for three bases; one of which is also a rescue platform. The AMS will be operational from bases in East London, Port Elizabeth and Mthatha. “We have mobilised our maintenance department and conducted flight crew training to ensure that services rendered to the Province meets our high quality standard and adheres to all regulatory framework” said Dr. Philip Erasmus Chief Executive Officer of the AMS. The AMS is operating Leonardo 119Ke single engine helicopters with custom designed intensive care medical interiors. The aircraft has the capacity for two pilots, three crew members and one stretcher. “The AMS is currently operational from East London and Port Elizabeth and will be operational from Mthatha during the first week of 2021” Dr. Erasmus added.
The AMS has been operational for more than 50 years rendering services in support of the National Health System to various Provincial Departments of Health. These services include air ambulance, rescue and health outreach support to the most vulnerable communities to ensure that healthcare is facilitated to reach all corners of the country. The organisation is licensed by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to provide air ambulance and charter operations. Services are provided via a fleet of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
“The AMS is committed to facilitate access to healthcare to those rendered most vulnerable and together with the Department of Health help manage the Covide-19 outbreak and continue to make a difference in the quality of life of all. The Provincial Department of Health will also have access to our development programmes, which include amongst others, training of external load operators and accessibility to our confined space training on our Ehambayo medical simulators that will facilitate learning and skills development in the aero-medical and emergency medical service environment.” Dr Philip Erasmus concluded.