A medical team has been assigned by the Balearic government to a Traffic department helicopter unit, which will be able to reach those injured in accidents across the Island within a maximum of 8 minutes. Regional minister for Health and Consumer Affairs, Aina Castello, was speaking yesterday at the presentation of the helicopter at the Son Bonet Airport outside Palma. The Traffic department is responsible for watching over movement of traffic on the Island's highways during the months of June, July and August.
Since 2 June, the “Highway Watch” helicopter has been supported by an “061” medical team comprising a doctor and nurse who will remain with the helicopter during daylight hours. This medical service will be at the disposition of the Traffic department until 30 August. It aims to offer a more efficient response to calls for assistance following accidents during the summer months. Castillo explained that fitting out the helicopter with medical staff and equipment meant an investment of 20'058 euros. The prime objective is to reduce the time it takes for emergency services to reach those in need of help. The helicopter is equipped with material to enable the victims to be attended immediately by the medical staff at the scene of the accident. The medical apparatus includes a monitor, a defibrillator, oxygen tank, equipment for circulatory and respiratory emergencies, and cutting equipment. The helicopter will be stationed at Son Bonet aerodrome and will offer its services to Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza.
The setting up of this service has been spearheaded by the central government delegation in the Balearics which has ceded the helicopter to the Islands with the aim of reinforcing the Traffic department's control over activity on the roadways of the Islands. Central government delegate, Ramón Socías said yesterday that following the arrival of tourists, the summer season brings with it increased car usage due to the number of hired vehicles on the roads. He commented that during this year's Easter holidays, the medical team was already operating from the helicopter with some impressive results. For this reason, regional government wants to see the same scheme in place during the high holiday season. Socías pointed out that, for the moment, there is no specific budgetary figure to keep the service going throughout the year. He said, however, that if accident statistics continue to rise, it will be an option to be considered. Figures for fatal accidents on the Islands' roads have been particularly high this year. Cyclists have been amongst the victims and the government is hoping to bring secondary country routes back to life to offer alternative, and safer, two-wheeled tourism.