Greetings from north of the 49th.
We are experiencing growing pains within our rotary program, and I have a few questions regarding dispatch. We are working on utilizing our helicopters for more scene work than they currently do. Current mix is 90-95% interfacility with scene flights making up the rest. One of our main stumbling blocks is a provincial policy that requires a trauma patient to be one hour travel time from a hospital (not a trauma center, just an accredited hospital)before they fit the helicopter transport policy. They must also fit the medical criteria (similiar to the trauma guidelines in the US).
The above is not the problem regarding this post (although it would be fodder for another day). Our province operates from three ground based regional dispatch centers and one air dispatch center. The centers utilize the MPDS system. The regional dispatcher is the person who requests a helicopter for a scene flight. A scene flight can also be requested by ground based EMA's (EMT)once they have assessed a patient. Quite often, despite an MPDS code that indicates a possible scene flight scenario, the helicopter and crew are not put on standby.
Ground crews arrive, and transport to a community hospital(quite often over 30 minutes ground time), and then the hospital calls for an airevac. Unlike the Canadian dollar, the Canadian Golden Hour is about 300% longer than the American equivalent.
Okay, I'm getting to my question. For the programs that are not affiliated with a ground based dispatch center, how do you get your calls? Does your county or state have policies for who goes by air and a process to monitor this? Does the trauma center in your area have guidelines regarding review of transports into their center?
When you launch for a scene flight, do you wait for confirmation of injuries from ground based EMS or can law enforcement request a flight.
Thanks for your time regarding this issue. I look forward to reading the responses.
Please fly safe
Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia