LifeFlight choppers and jets in record year for lifesaving missions

2016 was a record-breaking year for RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters, flying 1,957 missions across Queensland costing more than $24 million.

LifeFlight’s air ambulance service, with a fleet of three jets, now also sponsored by RACQ, also had a record year flying an additional 298 lifesaving missions both in Australia (183) and overseas (115) to countries including China, Vanuatu, Fiji, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and Hawaii.

LifeFlight is a world leader in aeromedical care and Australia's most diversified service with both a fixed and rotary wing fleet, which flew the record number of missions in 2016 with 13 rescue helicopters and three air ambulance jets from 12 locations.

The lifesaving RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters’ 1,957 missions included 223 motor vehicle/motorcycle crashes (on and off road – both primary missions and hospital transfers), 418 other life-threatening accidents and emergencies, 37 neonatal transfers and 65 search and rescues. The missions included a total of 1,387 inter-hospital transfers around the state.

The Roma-based SGAS service also had a busy year with 45 missions flown from the Roma and Toowoomba bases, costing more $560,000.

LifeFlight Chief Operating Officer Brian Guthrie said LifeFlight’s service continued to get busier and fly more missions because of the world class aero-medical service it provided and the fact that transporting patients by air provided the best medical outcome.

The top five mission types for RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters, according to injury and illness were:

Cardiac conditions (308); on and off road motor vehicle/motor cycle accidents (223); falls including animal, bushwalking/climbing and medical conditions (140); stroke/neurological conditions (117); and respiratory conditions (113).

“LifeFlight is proud that our community helicopters have provided a record number of airlifts around Queensland and have been able to respond to a record number of lifesaving missions in the calendar year because we know that every mission involves a person whom we have helped in their hour of need,” said Mr Guthrie.

“Each airlift involves someone’s parent, child, grandparent, sibling or friend and our aero-medical service gives patients the best chance of survival and recovery.”

Mr Guthrie said RACQ LifeFlight rescue helicopters covered 41 council regions in Queensland and northern New South Wales and operated from five community bases in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg and Mount Isa and Toowoomba, which now has access to two LifeFlight Bell 412 Rescue helicopters. 

The SGAS service, with two medically-configured Bell 412 helicopters based at Roma and Toowoomba, covered a vast area of operations of approximately 270,000 square kilometres.

RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said RACQ LifeFlight is a vital service for all Queenslanders.

“When it comes to saving a life, every second counts, especially for those involved in serious car crashes. We should never underestimate the value of an air-ambulance on call, free of charge to all Queenslanders,” Ms Ritchie said.  

“The sheer number of road crash missions goes to show any one of us could need RACQ LifeFlight Rescue to help friends, family, or even ourselves, at some point in our lives.”

Mr Guthrie said the RACQ LifeFlight rescue helicopters provided a valuable community service which was performed at no charge to patients. With every lifesaving mission costing on average around $12,500, LifeFlight relied on the support of sponsors and partners - including naming rights sponsor RACQ – along with the donations and support of everyday Queenslanders around the state.

He said LifeFlight would continue its fleet renewal strategy, following the recent introduction of a third Agusta Westland AW139 now in position at the Maroochydore base.

LifeFlight works in partnership with Retrieval Services Queensland, which is responsible for clinical coordination for all aeromedical ambulance transport and retrieval.

To support LifeFlight, visit http://www.lifeflight.org.au/page/support-us/
 

RACQ LIFEFLIGHT HELICOPTER RESCUE TOP 5 QUEENSLAND PATIENT INJURY AND ILLNESS TYPES:
308 – Cardiac conditions
223 - Motor vehicle and motor cycle accidents (on and off road, quad bike and pedestrian)
140 - Falls (animal, bushwalking/climbing, elderly, medical, other)
117 - Stroke/neurological conditions
113 – Respiratory conditions

Brisbane based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter flew 603 lifesaving missions, valued at $7.5 million

TOP 5 BRISBANE PATIENT INJURY AND ILLNESS TYPES:
129 - Cardiac conditions             
49 - Infection/serious illnesses
39 - Stroke/neurological conditions
29 - Abdominal conditions
27 - Falls (animal, bushwalking/climbing, elderly, medical, other)           

Toowoomba based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter flew 587 lifesaving missions, costing $7.3 million

TOP 5 TOOWOOMBA PATIENT INJURY AND ILLNESS TYPES:
80 - Motor vehicle and motor cycle accidents (on and off road, quad bike and pedestrian)
66 - Cardiac conditions
45 - Abdominal conditions
41 - Falls (animal, bushwalking/climbing, elderly, medical, other)
40 - Stroke/neurological conditions

Sunshine Coast based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter flew 483 lifesaving missions, costing $6 million 

TOP 5 SUNSHINE COAST PATIENT INJURY AND ILLNESS TYPES:
85 - Cardiac conditions
82 - Motor vehicle and motor cycle accidents (on and off road, quad bike and pedestrian)
38 - Falls (animal, bushwalking/climbing, elderly, medical, other)
35 - Search missions
24 - Stroke/neurological conditions

Bundaberg based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter flew 253 lifesaving missions, costing $3.1 million 

TOP 5 BUNDABERG PATIENT INJURY AND ILLNESS TYPES:
30 - Motor vehicle and motor cycle accidents (on and off road, quad bike and pedestrian)
27 - Falls (animal, bushwalking/climbing, elderly, medical, other)           
26 - Cardiac conditions
24 - Abdominal conditions
20 - Search missions

Mt Isa based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter flew 29 lifesaving missions, costing $363,000

TOP 5 MT ISA PATIENT INJURY AND ILLNESS TYPES:
6 - Falls (animal, bushwalking/climbing, elderly, medical, other)
5 - Motor vehicle and motor cycle accidents (on and off road, quad bike and pedestrian)
3 - Stroke/neurological conditions
3 - Abdominal conditions
2 - Respiratory conditions