SW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan today officially opened the new $5.5 million NSW Ambulance & Westpac Rescue Helicopter Base at Belmont.
Located at Lake Macquarie Airport, 864 Pacific Highway, Marks Point, Mr Morgan said the 24/7 base enables the NSW Ambulance and Hunter New England Health medical team on board to deliver faster and further coverage across regional, rural and remote NSW communities.
“I’m pleased to be here today to officially open the first of our new NSW Ambulance & Westpac Rescue Helicopter Bases.”
“This purpose-built base enhances our aeromedical capacity in northern NSW; co-locating medical and operational helicopter teams and housing our bigger and safer fleet of four Belmont-based Agusta 139 aircraft” Mr Morgan said.
The opening of the Belmont base is part of the $151.2 million state-wide Helicopter Retrieval Network which is the single biggest NSW Government investment in aeromedical services in the state’s history.
Built by local contractors and partly funded by a $2.3 million contribution from the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Hunter Infrastructure Investment Fund, the new base is designed to further improve safety, training capacity, responsiveness, work and communications processes between operational teams.
The Northern zone is one of two aeromedical retrieval zones in NSW, and consists of new bases at Newcastle, Lismore and Tamworth.
“The clinical capability of this new base, its crew and aircraft is state of the art. With a NSW Ambulance helicopter paramedic and a Hunter New England Health doctor on board every primary flight, we are able to deliver critical care, mid-air at scene and en-route to hospital. Each aircraft is also Newborn and paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS) capable.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter Chief Executive Richard Jones said the new base enhances the ability of pilots, aircrew and engineers to work with on-board medical crews to deliver aeromedical and rescue services.
“The Belmont base is an asset for our community and we are delighted to deliver a facility which is at world-class standard. The functional design of the building had to maximise communication and workflow for this team, provide a safe and functional hangar for our aircraft and engineers as well as appropriate living space for the crew” he said.
Along with the unveiling of an official plaque, the event also acknowledged the contribution of Westpac Rescue Helicopter Patron and founding father Cliff Marsh OAM, with the operations room named after him.
“The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is an iconic and trusted service across northern NSW and beyond. NSW Ambulance is pleased this partnership will continue to assist the local communities who support and rely on this vital service in their local community” Mr Morgan said.