District of Houston municipal office and council chambers.

Helicopter society requests letter of support

At the District of Houston council chambers on July 4, 2o17 a request for a letter of support was presented from Ted Clarke, Vice President of the Northern B.C. Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operations Society (HEROS), from Prince George.

“I am writing to your organization today to ask for you to consider drafting a letter of support for our proposal that the provincial government establish an independent Royal Commission to examine all aspects of pre-hospital care in B.C., supported by a universal cost/benefit analysis study,” wrote Clarke.

Clarke added that the Northern B.C. HEROS for the past five years have been working to create public awareness of the shortcomings of current emergency medical services the provincial authorities provide.

“We are driven to highlight the need for a doctor-led, rapid-response helicopter service capable of reaching rural and remote areas of the province quickly to prevent unnecessary deaths and decrease morbidity of injuries and illnesses by reducing the time it takes to bring definitive medical care to the patient,” said Clarke.

Clarke said that the Northern Central Local Government Association represents an area that contains 69 per cent B.C. land mass, home to 60 per cent Aboriginal people, as well as everyone else that lives, works and travels around the region and deserve better pre-hospital care.

“When you are gravely ill or seriously injured, the medical system should not start once you arrive at the hospital door,” said Clarke.

According to Clarke, B.C. Emergency Health Services estimates the cost of taxpayers of trauma (not including medical conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, and diabetic shock) at $5 billion per year.

“Yet, in the history of this province, there has never been a non-partisan universal cost-benefit study on pre-hospital care to examine whether our health care system is spending tax dollars wisely,” said Clarke.

Northern B.C. HEROS is appealing to private industries including foresters, truckers, miners, petroleum producers, public entities including firefighters, first aid responders, health authorities, as well as elected government officials to push for a real change in how the province conducts its emergency services, says Clarke.

“Did we not have a presentation from the ambulance here that was doing a similar program?” asked counsellor Rick Lundrigan?

“That was the community paramedics, and they’re are kind of focused on people that have already visited the Houston Health Centre and have prescription for their needs,” said counsellor Jonathan Van Barneveld. “This is more pre-hospital trauma care.”

“In the Northwest 82 per cent of trauma related deaths happen before reaching the hospital,” added counsellor Van Barneveld. “They are focusing on helicopter care for trauma.”

“There are other places like Boston and Washington that have legislated response time, and will get across to Alaska within 60 minutes to reduce response time,” said counsellor Van Barneveld. “It’s a good thing for the North.”

Houston council approved to write a letter of support to the Northern B.C. HEROS.