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Air ambulance to be stationed in Kinmen after endeavor by Magistrate Chen

Air ambulance to be stationed in Kinmen after endeavor by Magistrate Chen
08/05/2017
Reporter: Chen Guan-Lin / Summary Report
An air ambulance is to be stationed in Kinmen at the end of the second quarter of next year (2018). The Kinmen County Public Health Bureau yesterday (August 4th) announced the award of contract on July 28th, 2017 for the procurement project on the ambulance airplane stationed in Kinmen County on standby for transport services, with a term of four years and a funding of about NT$490 million. At the end of the second quarter of next year, Executive Aviation Taiwan Corp. is to be stationed and a PHENOM 300 jet will be used for carrying out duties. In the event of any emergency cases that need to be transported to Taiwan, it can immediately dispatch the air ambulance for transportation without waiting for a helicopter to fly from Taiwan. It takes only 40 to 50 minutes from Kinmen to Taipei Songshan Airport, which is half of the helicopter flight time, and can greatly shorten the time for emergency transportation.
The Public Health Bureau said that the winning tenderers for the project are Emerald Pacific Airlines and Executive Aviation Taiwan Corp. Executive Aviation Taiwan is to be stationed in Kinmen County, with a contract term of four years and two three-year extensions allowed. The funding for the four years totals about NT$490 million. For the first year of the contract term, 20 percent of the fund is to be raised by the Kinmen County Government, 25 percent borne by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and 55 percent allocated from the Offshore Islands Development Fund, while the expenses on transporting patients in dire conditions back to Kinmen are to be fully covered by the local budget.
Executive Aviation Taiwan is a general aviation operator and currently the only Asian airline that owns its own rescue teams for international business aviation and air ambulances (fixed-wing jets). Since its establishment in 2012, the medical rescue operations have spanned China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and other major cities in Asia, with a total of more than 200 flight missions successfully completed. In the project, Executive Aviation Taiwan will introduce a PHENOM 300, an ambulance jet aircraft to be stationed in the county for standby services during the four years.
The PHENOM 300 business jet’s cabin pressure is stable, conducive to the transfer of patients with stomach, heart or lung diseases, and its temperature, humidity, and ventilation can be controlled; moreover, the quiet cabin noises make it easier for paramedics to collaborate with each other. The estimated flight time from Shangyi Airport to Taipei Songshan Airport is 40 to 50 minutes, only half of the helicopter flight time. As the air ambulance is to arrive 210 days after the award of contract pursuant to the contract, it is expected that the air ambulance can be stationed in the county at the end of the second quarter of 2018 for carrying out emergency medical transportation and transportation of patients back to Kinmen for hospice care.
The Public Health Bureau pointed out that in order to strengthen the county’s medical services, Magistrate Chen Fu-Hai has been committed to promoting the healthcare policy, which primarily focuses on local medical services with a secondary focus on air referral, with the aim of improving the quality of medical care for the residents of the county. In addition to pushing for the Black Hawk helicopter of the National Airborne Service Corps under the National Fire Agency to be stationed in the county, Chen in 2015 requested the Public Health Bureau to launch the “Ambulance Airplanes Stationed in Kinmen County on Standby Project” to be undertaken by a civil aviation company and set up a fund. At that time, online tendering was open five times; however, no firms tendered for the contract as private airlines had fleet shortage and were short-staffed.
Therefore, Chen repeatedly went to the Executive Yuan and the National Development Council for communication and negotiation, striving to plead on behalf of county residents for the ambulance airplane to be stationed in the county for emergency medical transportation, in order to make full use of the best rescue time and lower the mortality and disability rates of patients with acute and severe diseases. Under the assistance of Legislator Yang Cheng-Wu, whose constituency is in Kinmen, former Minister without Portfolio Hsiao Chia-Chi of the Executive Yuan held the meeting of “Emergency Medical Air Referral Services by Helicopters Stationed on Offshore Islands on Standby” for initiating the project in May 2016.
In July 2016, Minister without Portfolio Wu Hong-Mo presided over the meeting of “Emergency Medical Air Referral Services by Civil Helicopters Stationed on Offshore Islands on Standby”, expressing Premier Lin Chuan’s concern about the medical care shortage on the outlying islands and his intention to increase the subsidy from the Offshore Islands Development Fund. In an effort to simultaneously resolve the emergency medical care issues on the outlying islands of Kinmen, Lianjiang, and Penghu, the Ministry of Health and Welfare conducted the procurement project for “Ambulance Airplanes Stationed on Offshore Islands of Kinmen, Lianjiang, and Penghu on Standby for Transport Services.” Following ten task force meetings, an invitation for bids was carried out at the end of November, 2016, and on July 28th, 2017, the contract was awarded to a successful bidder in the fourth round, and the announcement was made on August 2nd.
The Public Health Bureau stressed that the Executive Yuan originally approved the emergency medical transport project with 70 percent of the funding raised by Kinmen County (approx. NT$71.71 million per year); nevertheless, after Magistrate Chen Fu-Hai visited Fujian Provincial Government Governor Chang Ching-Sen, National Development Council Minister Chen Tain-Jy, President of the Legislative Yuan Su Chia-Chyuan, and Legislator Yang Cheng-Wu, asking for their help to decrease the percentage of the self-raised fund, it was finally reduced to 20% (about NT$20.49 million per annum) following continuous negotiations, an estimated yearly saving of NT$51.26 million of county money.
As the air ambulance is to be stationed next year, Magistrate Chen Fu-Hai would like to express special thanks to Legislator Yang Cheng-Wu, Premier Lin Chuan, Secretary-General of the Executive Yuan Chen Mei-Ling, National Development Council Minister Chen Tain-Jy, Minister without Portfolio Wu Hong-Mo, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Public Construction Commission, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and other relevant departments for their assistance in the fulfillment of the responsibility of the government for taking care of the residents of offshore islands.

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  • Date:2017-12-12