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Mayor calls for broader use of air ambulances in Moscow City

November 08, 2013, 18:37 UTC+3

He indicated that the city authorities planned to open bidding contests before the yearend for purchasing new helicopters

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MOSCOW, November 8 (Itar-Tass) - Air ambulance service should be used on a wider scale within the boundaries of Moscow City, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Friday as he addressed a meeting of the city government commission on the protection of people’s health.

He indicated that the city authorities planned to open bidding contests before the yearend for purchasing new helicopters.

The commission held the meeting on the premises of City General Hospital No. 67, one of the largest in Moscow. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who also attended the meeting said utilization of air ambulance was a very pressing one in this country at present.

Ambulance helicopter crews are called to duty once or twice a day, Sergei Sobyanin said. “But we believe that’s not enough and this branch of healthcare should be developed,” he said.

Medvedev also asked to clarify whether he helicopters were cruising the territory of the New Moscow - areas to the southwest of the city’s famous Outer Ring Road that were included in its administrative boundary in 2012 - or just in the old Moscow.

“In both territories - in New Moscow and the historical territory of the city likewise,” Sobyanin answered. “They are brought into action in particularly urgent situations, as well as to evacuate patients in aggravated conditions.”

“For the most part, air ambulances are called in when road accidents are dealt with,” he said.

Sobyanin believes that the use of ambulance helicopters should be increased three-fold or four-fold. “We’ll hold a bidding contest for purchasing the appropriate aircraft this year and the Vertolyoty Rossii /Russian Helicopters/ holding company may take part in it, too.”

Veronika Skvortsova, the federal minister of healthcare said the air ambulances had made more than 2,000 sorties in Moscow over the past twenty-four months and the time of patients’ transportation to hospitals had reduced considerably in some cases.

On the whole, Moscow’s emergency medical service makes about 12,000 ‘sick calls’ a day.

“That’s a huge and dynamically working complex that functions round the clock, and the efficiency of the city’s entire healthcare system depends in a big measure on how it works,” Sobyanin said.

One of the recent achievements is a reduction of the emergency medic’s arrival at destinations to 16 from 18 minutes and at sites of road accidents, to 9 from 12 minutes on the average.

“This reduction has been achieved in spite of traffic jams thanks to improvements in deployment of ambulance cars,” Sobyanin said. “In addition to it, all the cars are fitted out with perfect equipment and this has produced a visible effect on the road accident mortality rates, as well as on the timeliness of medical services.”

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