Local heliport opens, improving access for patients

May 3, 2018

Air ambulance helicopters can now land at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital

MEDICINE HAT – The heliport at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital (MHRH) is officially operational after Transport Canada issued a flight certificate confirming air ambulance helicopters can land at the facility.

"We are incredibly happy to have the ability for helicopters to land here at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital," says Linda Iwasiw, Senior Operating Officer, Acute Care East, South Zone. "This heliport means that patients needing urgent, critical care can be transported directly to the hospital, by helicopter."

The heliport can accommodate all helicopters from STARS, HALO and the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS).

STARS helicopters are more than an ambulance in the air; they are sophisticated medical environments brought directly to the patient. This can mean the difference in the health outcome of a patient. On board, a full array of medications and equipment are at the disposal of the air medical crew. STARS helicopters are utilized at MHRH for transferring patients from Medicine Hat to larger facilities in Calgary or Edmonton.

HALO helicopters are dedicated to southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan for medical rescue. They are dispatched through the centralized provincial air ambulance program, much like STARS and fixed-wing air ambulances are. When mobilized in an emergency situation, HALO travels with an Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crew.

Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Suffield – the home of BATUS - is located approximately 50 kilometres west of Medicine Hat. CFB Suffield provides extensive live-fire military training exercises and may utilize the helipad at MHRH for any injuries sustained during these exercises.

In 2012 the Government of Alberta provided MHRH with $269 million for its redevelopment project, which included the addition of a helipad.

"Medicine Hat and area residents will benefit from this vital link in the delivery of emergency medical services in southern Alberta," says Sandra Jansen, Minister of Infrastructure. "The helipad is a critical piece of the expansion and renovations taking place at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital and we are pleased it has received the necessary Transport Canada certification."

AHS’ EMS team, including dispatch services, ground ambulances, fixed-wing air ambulances, and helicopters from STARS and HALO work together as key partners to provide an integrated emergency medical response service.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Gwen Wirth
Communications Director, South Zone