Joan Collins
THE medical team which travels in the Traffic helicopter during the Summer months so that they can be on the spot to deal with traffic accidents more rapidly, attended 10 accidents in 2005 and have attended three since June 15 this year.
Aina Castillo, the Balearic Minister of Health, was speaking at a press conference to announce the renewal of the collaboration between the two departments (Health and Traffic) which was started in 2004. She was accompanied by the Spanish Government's Representative in the Balearics, Ramon Socias.
According to Castillo, the importance of this system lies in the fact that it reduce the time to get medical help to the scene in the case of a traffic accident. While the helicopter takes an average of 8 minutes to get to the scene, a conventional ambulance coming by road can only manage it in 13 minutes. “In the case of an accident, even one second could save a life”, she explained.
The service, to which the Balearic Ministry for Health is contributing 14'000 euros, started on June 15 and will go on until the middle of September, 15 days more than is usual. This is the period during which the island's roads have an increased volume of cars on them, due to the amount of tourists on the island during the Summer. In fact, the Guardia Civil's helicopter also carries a nurse which allows medical help to arrive on the scene faster to stabilise the injured people, who can later be taken to hospital by conventional ambulance. This also means that the details of the accident can be ascertained more quickly and accurately.
In this respect, the Minister highlighted the fact that the medical personnel in the helicopter are coordinated by the 061 emergency service so that, when an accident happens, “everything is quicker, as the helicopter is immediately advised of the accident”. For his part, Socias said that a short time ago the traffic helicopter was fitted with a camera which allows it to record possible infractions and issue penalties to the people committing them. However, he confirmed that as yet there are no figures for the results of this system which he insisted is fundamentally “disuasive”.
Continuing on this theme, he said he considered that it is important that drivers felt “they are being watched” by an aircraft which is carrying a camera capable of reading the number plate of a car from a height of 200 metres. He said that the system had been planned before the driving licence points system came into force, which he hoped would contribute to a “radical decrease” in the deaths on Spanish roads and Balearic roads in particular.

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