Dedicated patient flight service begins in northeastern Ontario

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Ornge, Ontario's provider of air ambulance and related services, is pleased to announce a new dedicated patient flight service for the Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury corridor.   Air Bravo, a private sector air ambulance service which provides patient transport services under contract to Ornge, is responsible for delivering this service.

The six month trial will provide airplane service for patients with scheduled appointments for hospital treatment.  An advanced level of medical care will be offered on these flights to meet the needs of patients requiring the service.  Ornge announced the program in June and recently awarded the contract after a request for quotation was issued to its contracted carriers.

"With the launch of this trial, we are taking a significant step toward enhancing patient care in Ontario's northern communities," said Ron McKerlie, Interim President and CEO of Ornge.  "We are happy to work with Air Bravo, a valued private sector partner with a long record of service to the patients of Ontario, in finding new ways to provide effective and efficient coverage throughout the region."

Vanda Cooper, Director of Emergency, Critical Care and Access at Sault Area Hospital said "Regularly scheduled air transport for patients with appointments, allows us to better plan their out-of-town treatments while freeing up Ornge aircraft for emergent transfers. We are pleased to participate in this initiative aimed at facilitating access to much-needed patient care in tertiary care centers."

"We are pleased with the introduction of this new service. It should greatly improve the timeliness of medical transfers between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, which is better for our patients, and helps the hospital system run more efficiently," says Dr. Chris Bourdon, the Chief of Staff, Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs, and an Emergency Department physician at Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord. 

During the trial, the advanced level of care service will operate from Monday to Friday.  The transport of patients with scheduled appointments will be booked by the hospitals in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie through Ornge's Operations Control Centre.  The airplanes are configured to transport at least two patients per flight.

This program will allow Ornge to free up its dedicated airplanes and helicopters for more urgent and emergency cases.  Results of this trial will be monitored closely to determine if this program is beneficial to patients and the hospitals.

Today's announcement builds on recent improvements Ornge has made to enhance the quality of service for Ontario patients.  Last week, Ornge announced that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has approved its application to fly helicopters to the U.S., allowing Ornge's air ambulance helicopter fleet to fly in U.S. airspace and transport patients to or from any U.S. destination.

Ornge has also appointed Denise Polger as its first Patient Advocate, working with patients and families to resolve their concerns about patient care and service. She will also advocate for operational improvements based on lessons learned from the patient complaints process to ensure Ornge is guided by the principles of its new Patient Declaration of Values which can be found at www.ornge.ca/patients/.

ABOUT ORNGE
Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, coordinates all aspects of Ontario's air ambulance system, the critical care land transport program, paediatric transport program and the authorization of air and land ambulance transfers between hospitals.


SOURCE: Ornge

For further information:

Media Contact: 
James MacDonald
416-531-7577

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