ORANGE’S NSW Ambulance rescue helicopter sat locked in the hangar on Wednesday while alternative arrangements had to be made for two critically injured central west residents.
The pair had to be transported to specialist medical care by road ambulance and the Sydney-based helicopter.
A car crash victim at Gulgong with serious head wounds and a woman critically stabbed at Parkes would have arrived at a specialist treating hospital much sooner had the Orange helicopter, funded by the NSW government, been allowed to fly at night.
In both instances the ‘golden hour’ rule was broken - a timeframe widely regarded in the medical profession as being critical to the outcome of a patient.
The incidents follow Member for Orange Andrew Gee’s meeting with Ernst and Young, who are conducting the review for the NSW Government into the case for Orange’s helicopter to be funded to fly 24-hours a day.
Orange City Council and the councils of Centroc have also met with Ernst and Young to put the case for a favourable outcome on the provision of an all hours helicopter rescue service.
Mr Gee says he is about to lodge a second submission with the NSW Government, saying the population growth for the region, revealed in last Friday’s census as exceeding the national average, is further evidence the Government needs to be convinced to upgrade the service.
“Population growth in this region is an issue and we have recorded the second highest growth of an area outside the metropolitan area,” Mr Gee said.
“While some areas such as Wellington have had a slight fall in population there are places like Orange and and particularly Mudgee which have had significant population increases,” he said.
Mr Gee is also pushing for Orange’s helicopter to have a winch installed.
However the Central Western Daily understands a winch has already been funded for Orange and is currently in Bankstown, where the Orange helicopter is seconded to be used in Sydney from time to time.
Mr Gee said he is hoping the outmoded statistics provided for the previous helicopter review undertaken for NSW Ambulance in 2009 will be overtaken by more relevant and up-to-date information.
“Since the 2009 review there has been a major change in clinical service delivery within the area,” said Mr Gee.
“Orange has become the regional trauma centre for this part of NSW, with the intensive care unit at Orange Health Service now a superior Level 2 service, upgraded from Level 1 when the former hospital was in Dalton Street,” he said.
Mr Gee said yesterday he was unable to comment on the two critical incidents which occurred on Wednesday night as he had no knowledge of the events and referred the Central Western Daily to the office of NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner.