Feeds and Updates Dr. Helicopter, Emergency Room in the Sky October 12 2023
The emergency medical service helicopter (Dr. Helicopter) was introduced in September 2011 for the first time.
Dr. Helicopter, deployed at emergency medical institutes, plays a role of the emergency room in the sky; medical professionals are accompanied for prompt transport and first aid at medically vulnerable regions.
The differences between emergency medical service helicopters and other emergency helicopters are medical professionals’ boarding and mounted medical devices.
The emergency helicopters of the organizations such as the fire agency, police agency, and forestry administration mainly serve for accident suppression, rescue, and fast transport of patients. On the contrary, the emergency medical service helicopters are mainly used to transport patients and take first-aid treatment
Emergency Medical Service Helicopters / Domestic Status / Overseas Status
Although Korean overall emergency medical system (EMS) is led by central government, the roles of local governments and private sectors are also very significant.
The finance for the emergency medical service helicopter project is mainly based on emergency medical fund and run via central government and local government.
Switzerland, UK, Germany and the US conduct emergency medical system tasks centered at non-profit organizations.
As the government’s 100% interest on all sectors to pursue the public welfare has the limitation due to the limited budget and human resource, the project has been led by privates and been evolved with the form of complementing the service that is not provided by the country.
Five Issues with Operational System for Emergency Medical Service Helicopters
1. Legal system: Not all regulations for state-owned aircraft are applied. It is worrisome that the limited legal status may affect the smooth transport of emergent patients.
In addition, a single provision of the legal ground for emergency medical service helicopters is not enough to cover all necessary legal system for the helicopter.
2. Budget: The working expenses of emergency medical transportation system support are run with small amount of budget in 8.7% of entire emergency medical fund.
The operating cost of helicopters has been fixed for more than 10 years without the consideration of inflation rate. It is difficult for the hospitals which have the emergency medical service helicopters to secure the enough operational budget as the dedicated project budget for aircraft business operators is limited.
3. Organizations: As the legal grounds for the helicopter operation of each ministry are all different and the government-level supervision entities and their roles for joint operation of pan-ministerial emergency medical service helicopters are not specifically stipulated, the effectiveness of the operation is limited.
4. Aviation Safety: Securing experts to build, and continuously maintain aviation safety management system and the training on safety supervision are relatively insufficient.
While the infrastructure of takeover point is becoming more and more, the safety control issues with the unmaintained takeover point has been raised.
* The point where the helicopters are pre-approved to take off or land down for patient pick-up or drop-off)
5. National Public Service: As the hospitals to operate helicopters are fewer against the population, it is deemed to be relatively more blind spots where the critical emergency patients' transportation within golden hours is difficult.
In addition, is being raised other issues such as excessive inter-hospital transportation of the critically ill patients, limited night flight and complaint about noise.
Promotion Works/Stages/Details for Improvement in Operational System of Emergency Medical Service Helicopters
Short-term (2023~2024): Re-establishing safety control system for emergency medical service helicopter pilots / planning for the advancement of emergency medical service helicopter infrastructures/ enacting special act on emergency medical care using emergency medical service helicopters / planning for stable securement of finance for securement emergency medical service helicopter projects
Mid-term (2025~2026): Reviewing the appropriateness of working expense for emergency medical service helicopter projects / frameworks for enhancement of legal status of emergency medical service helicopters / planning for extension of patients transportation from sites to hospitals / planning for securing effectiveness of emergency medical service helicopter projects / planning for the improvement in critical emergency patients' transportation within golden hours
Long-term(2027~2028): Preparing for legal ground for emergency medical service helicopter projects / planning for responding to complaints about noise from emergency medical service helicopters / planning for control & supervision of pan-ministerial emergency medical service helicopter operation / preparing for legal ground for control & supervision of pan-ministerial emergency medical service helicopter operation / feasibility study on night time operation of emergency medical service helicopters
Emergency medical service helicopters, keeping nationals out of incidents and disease that can happen anytime, anywhere!
It is necessary to develop mid- to long-term development plans for efficient operation, such as improving related legal systems, establishing safety management systems, and improving operational entities.
* This card news is produced by modifying and supplementing ‘A Case Study on Operational System for Emergency Purpose Helicopters’.