Generally, it is not until we need emergency assistance that we give much thought to the services we are fortunate to have in this country.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is one such service, first established in 1975 and known as Wales Helicopter Rescue Service.
The mid 1980s saw the name change, in line with the longest corporate sponsor, Westpac Banking Corporation.
On average, there are 1,000 missions per year. The primary reason for attendance is accidents.
Medical staff assist the injured and then, if necessary, the helicopter transfers the patient to hospital.
The secondary reason for calls for assistance is the transportation of patients for specialist treatment; there are also a number of calls to assist in search and rescue situations.
As the Westpac Helicopter Service is a free service, it relies heavily on the community, the service’s group of volunteers, and corporate sponsorship to combine with the funding received through contracts with the NSW Department of Health and the NSW Ambulance Service.
Donations can be from as little as $2 per week to annual fundraisers such as the Angel Billy Golf Classic, which last year raised a staggering $21,000.
It all helps and it all adds up, with operational costs currently at $3,500 per hour, financial support is essential.
“In March this year, the service will support Northern NSW and Central West from the Hawkesbury to the Queensland border.
The service will be operating from three bases in Tamworth, Lake Macquarie and Lismore Airports,” Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service CEO Richard Jones said.
“This new helicopter retrieval network will deliver a world class, modern, flexible and effective helicopter fleet to deliver the best possible care for all patients; it will give helicopter paramedics, doctors and nurses the ability to get to patients faster than ever before.”
“It is a very exciting time for the service and we cannot thank the community enough for their continued support,” Mr Jones told News Of The Area.
For more information or to make a donation, Freecall 1800 155 155 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mandy ELLIS