PEACE RIVER, AB, March 16, 2018 /CNW/ - Northern Air is shocked to learn that the Government of Alberta has decided to break its promise to the people of the Peace River region to maintain the Peace River air ambulance base. Despite Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman's personal commitment, the base is being relocated to Grande Prairie, with only one aircraft being kept on Peace River's tarmac for emergencies.
This arrangement jeopardizes patient care and safety in the Peace River area. Most alarming is that the air ambulance will now be left outside, which has the potential to cause major delays in the winter while snow is cleared, the aircraft de-iced, and interior temperatures brought up to appropriate levels for patient comfort and medication viability. The ability to maintain the aircraft will be compromised. In emergency situations where time is of the essence and patient's lives are hanging in the balance, these delays will make it impossible to meet AHS's 30-minute wheels-up requirement.
AHS's announcement is a direct reversal of the written assurance Mayor of Peace River Tom Tarpey received from AHS President and CEO Verna Yiu on June 15, 2017, that "there will be no change in air ambulance bases or plane locations … regardless of the service provider." As well as the statement Minister Hoffman made in the Legislature on June 5, 2017 when asked about the Peace River air ambulance base being moved "… we will not change services, and there will be no change in base locations".
In August of 2016, AHS issued an RFP for air ambulance services to begin on April 1, 2017, following the expiration of its current contract. AHS violated their own RFP requirements and chose a proponent that could not have operational hangar space in Peace River by April 1, 2017. Due to the successful proponent's continued inability to acquire the hangar space required in the RFP, AHS was forced to extend the existing contracts to April 1, 2018. The successful proponent still does not have operational hangar space in Peace River, and as a result the Government has gone back on its assurances and has allowed the base to be moved to Grande Prairie, where the proponent already has operations.
"This entire RFP process has been flawed from the beginning and is why Northern Air filed an application for a judicial review in October 2017. The successful proponent chosen by AHS did not have an operational air ambulance base in Peace River when they applied for the RFP, did not have one when they were awarded the RFP, and are now having Peace River's air ambulance base moved to accommodate them" said Nate Hilman, President, Northern Air.
Hilman added "The government and AHS's unwillingness to enforce its own procurement process not only undermines the validity of the entire process but puts Peace River's access to proper medical services and safety at risk. Northern Air is now filing an emergency injunction in Peace River."
For more information, please visit: http://flynorthernair.com/air-ambulance/
SOURCE Northern Air
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