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Agency number: 2328
Title: Air Ambulance Service
Start date: 24 Mar 1967
End date:
Category: Branch
Creation:
Abolition:

Administrative history note: The air ambulance service commenced on 24 March, 1967. The New South Wales Ambulance Transport Service Board contracted East-West Airlines Limited to maintain and operate the aircraft , and pilots were seconded by the company for air ambulance duties. A Beechcraft Queen Air B80 with navigational aids to permit flying at night and in adverse weather conditions was purchased. The aircraft was fitted to carry four stretchers and three sitting patients. Three nursing sisters were employed to attend to patients during flight. In the period from 24 March 1967 172 flights had been conducted carrying a total of 435 patients had ad taken place. (1)

In 1969 the Government approved a public appeal to finance the purchase of a second aircraft for the Air Ambulance and the government undertook to finance 75% of the replacement costs of the aircraft. (2) The public appeal was oversubscribed and a second aircraft a was operational in December, 1969 (3) One of the aircraft was extensively damaged by fire on 22 May 1971 although it was possible charter an aircraft while repairs were carried out, the need to purchase an additional aircraft became apparent. (4) The third aircraft entered the service in September, 1971 and the damaged vehicle was operational again from 19 January, 1972 (5)

In August, 1976 the Rural Aerial Health Service which had operated from the Hunter Region was transferred to the Central Administration of the Ambulance Service. From 1977 the Air Ambulance and the Rural Aerial Service began to work more co-operatively and to liaise with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (6)

The Health Commission of New South Wales appointed a special committee to review the operations of the Air Ambulance Service in 1977-78.

A fourth aircraft was purchased in 1977-78 and East-West Airlines Ltd erected a purpose designed building for the service at Kingsford Smith Airport. This provided the necessary patient handling equipment and accommodation for crews and engineers. (7) By June, 1994 the Air Ambulance Service operated 4 fixed wing aircraft and 5 helicopters. In that year is attended a total of 6315 cases in 96 locations throughout New South Wales (8)

On 25 June 1994 the Minister for Health launched Ambulance CriticalCare which aimed to provide care to the sick and injured wherever they were located in New South Wales. This included transport by the most appropriate medium - road, fixed wing aircraft or helicopter. In 1993/94 the service assisted 412 critical care cases. (9)

Co-ordination between the service and hospitals was enhanced by the introduction of computer databases in 1998. In the same year a centralised telephone system increased efficiency particularly of the Rural Air Ambulance. (10) An Aeromedial Operations Centre situated in St George Hospital was opened in 1999 co-ordinate the aircraft with a network of clinical services. (11)

END NOTES
(1) Report of the New South Wales Ambulance Transport Service Board for the year ended 30 June, 1967 p. 4 in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1968 p. 14
(2) Report of the New South Wales Ambulance Transport Service Board for the year ended 30 June, 1969 p. 4 in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1969-70-71 vol 1 p. 626
(3) Report of the New South Wales Ambulance Transport Service Board for the year ended 30 June, 1970 p. 4 in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1969-70-71 vol 1 p. 638
(4) Report of the New South Wales Ambulance Transport Service Board for the year ended 30 June, 1971 p. 3 in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1971-72 vol 1 p.491
(5) Report of the New South Wales Ambulance Transport Service Board for the year ended 30 June,1972 p. 3 in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1973 vol. 1 p. 87
(6) Report of the Health Commission of New South Wales for the year ended 30 June, 1977 p. 31 uin NSW Parliamentary Papers 1976-77-78 vol 7. P. 845
(7) Report of the Health Commission of New South Wales for the year ended 30 June, 1978 p. 18 in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1978-79 vol. 3 p. 320
(8) Report of the Ambulance Service of New South Wales for the year ended 30 June 1994 p. 26
(9) Loc,. Cit.
(10) Ambulance Service of New South Wales annual report for the year ended 30 June, 1998 p. 21
(11) Ambulance Service of New South Wales annual report for the year ended 30 June 2000 p. 14

Images:
None

Preceding agencies:
None

Succeeding agencies:
None

Superior agencies:
58 Ambulance Transport Service Board  24 Mar 1967 ~ 13 Apr 1973 
2484 New South Wales Ambulance Board  13 Apr 1973 ~ 01 Jan 1977 
2486 Ambulance Service of New South Wales starts 01 Jul 1990 
2487 New South Wales Ambulance Service   01 Jan 1977 ~ 01 Jul 1990 

Subordinate agencies:
None

Related agencies:
None

Functions exercised by this agency:
3 Health starts 24 Mar 1967 
14 Emergency Management starts 24 Mar 1967 

Organisations controlling this agency:
None

Persons related to this agency:
None

Record series created by this agency:
None

Record series controlled by this agency:
None

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