The patients of Ibiza and Formentera will be served by a new Ibiza air ambulance before the year end.

The 061 emergency helicopter transfers patients between Ibiza and Formentera, and from both hospitals direct to Mallorca and the mainland when needed. Over the last few years the air ambulance has averaged around 50-60 flights a month.

The new helicopter will be a significant improvement over the last according to the coordinator of 061 in Ibiza and Formentera, Ángel Crespo.

Most notably the helicopter is fitted with a sophisticated meteorological radar that will enable the pilot to navigate the safest route in bad weather conditions. “It is very important because of the situation we are in. Many storms are formed and this radar allows the pilots to see, during the flight, where the center of the storm is so as to avoid the worst areas and look for the safest route” Crespo explained.

The new helicopter also produces less vibrations and less noise. This will be of benefit to the patients in the helicopter and the people living below. “The people of the Pitiusas are already used to seeing our helicopter, but now it will be less noticeable”, Crespo continued, adding that “It will also be faster”.

Airport Delay

Though any steps to quicken the transfer time are beneficial, it seems that the biggest delay is outside of factors relating to the performance of the helicopter.

At present the helicopter is based at the airport. When it is called into action, the pilots have to await air traffic control clearance, then first fly to Can Misses hospital to collect medical staff and equipment, before then attending any emergency. Though the helicopter is given priority clearance, it can still result in delays that could, by definition, be a matter of life and death.

The health authority are currently negotiating to have the helicopter move its permanent base to the Can Misses hospital site, which would speed up transfers and attendance at emergencies considerably.