Course ‘revolutionised’ care

Otago Rescue Helicopters staff, Southern District Health Board staff, St John staff and Dunedin...
Otago Rescue Helicopters staff, Southern District Health Board staff, St John staff and Dunedin Hospital registrars are (from left, rear) Anthony Hoets, Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust intensive care paramedic Ryan Burgess, Steve Clarke, Dr Conor Cosgrove, Otago Rescue Helicopter chief pilot Graeme Gale, Doug Flett, Myles Smith, Markus Renner, Tom Oliver, (from left, front) Toni Johnston, Annabell Rozen, Jessica Murphy, India Zweng, Rene Cescon, Peter Rackstraw, Helena Robinson and Hannah Fleming.
Helicopters Otago celebrated a milestone yesterday — the completion of its 50th training programme for registrars working in the intensive care unit.

Since 1994, every six months a group of intensive care registrars has undertaken the aeromedical retrieval training programme.

Eight registrars were trained this time around, marking a total of about 500 trainees having gone through the programme over the past 25 years.

Southern District Health Board deputy clinical leader for intensive care Markus Rennar said the course introduced registrars to the inter-hospital transfer service, road to air transfers, the models of staffing and funding, the missions involved and how the helicopter and intensive care unit worked together.

"It’s a very unique and long-standing programme we have with Heli Otago; we’re privileged to have this.

"It has revolutionised the care a patient can receive."

He said the team of four on a helicopter to transfer patients to intensive care usually included a paramedic, a pilot, a flight nurse and an intensive care registrar.

Helicopters Otago chief pilot Graeme Gale said the training programme was one of the first courses run in New Zealand and the ability to have a mobile intensive care unit was significant.

"The patient is getting the same level of care they get at the hospital."

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