Media release

Southern Air Ambulance Joint Venture Announced

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Two existing air ambulance helicopter providers have formed a joint venture with HEMS to continue serving their local communities throughout the Southern region.

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand Limited (HEMS) has entered into a joint venture with the National Ambulance Sector Organisation (NASO). Operations from this venture will begin in the region from 1st November 2018 and include a 24/7 service with dedicated clinical crew available to be run from a base in Dunedin. In Queenstown, there will be permanent dedicated cover for the first time as well as its current single-engine helicopter being replaced with a twin-engine.

ORC Chairman, Stephen Woodhead said, “This joint venture is an integral step in modernising New Zealand’s air helicopter ambulance services.”

He said, “It’s also very pleasing to see an improvement in the recognition of the work Helicopters Otago Ltd and the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust does.”

Helicopters Otago Ltd is the current air ambulance provider covering Southland and Otago. It is supported by the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust, of which ORC is a major sponsor. The funds provided through the Trust allows Helicopters Otago Ltd to modernise equipment and improve efficiency, which results in better outcomes for patients being transported to and from hospitals.

ORC Chairman, Stephen Woodhead said, “There is enormous community support for the work that Helicopters Otago Ltd does, and it’s pleasing to see them continue to provide their exemplary services for communities in the South of the South Island. This new arrangement will allow providers and the Trust to continue to build on their existing strengths and relationships.”

Cr Woodhead said, “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust and seeing continued growth and support for our air ambulance service across the south.”

Cr. Stephen Woodhead – ORC Chairman – 027 280 1635

Emma Schranz – ORC Senior Media Advisor - 0276275894