Local heliport opens, improving access to critical care

March 7, 2016

STARS can now land at Grande Cache Community Health Complex

GRANDE CACHE – The new heliport at the Grande Cache Health Complex is now operational after Transport Canada issued a flight certificate confirming STARS air ambulance helicopters can land at the Alberta Health Services (AHS) facility.

“The ability to have medevac helicopters land right here at the Grande Cache Health Complex will improve access for patients who need critical care transport,” says Dr. Kevin Worry, Medical Director for AHS North Zone.

The heliport can accommodate both STARS helicopters: the BK117 and the larger AW139.

STARS helicopters are more than an ambulance in the air; they are sophisticated medical environments brought directly to the patient. This can mean the difference in the health outcome of a patient when time is of the essence.

On board, a full array of medications and equipment is at the disposal of the air medical crew. STARS personnel are able to administer life-saving drugs, defibrillate a patient’s heart, transfuse blood, or even peer inside a patient using portable ultrasound technology.

“Many lives have been saved because of our ability to provide transport and medical expertise to critically ill and injured patients via air ambulance,” says Mike Lamacchia, Vice President of Alberta and Saskatchewan Operations at STARS.

“By landing our helicopters beside the Grande Cache Health Complex, STARS will be able to transport patients in northern Alberta to the facility more directly.”

In 2013, the Government of Alberta provided AHS $25 million for remediation of 13 priority heliport sites across the province over three years, including the local heliport in Grande Cache.

“In medical emergencies, we depend on front-line responders to provide responsive critical care. This investment means when our families and friends need air ambulance service or co-ordinated care, it will be more readily accessible,” says Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health.

STARS is an important part of the overall emergency medical response in Alberta that also includes EMS dispatch, ground ambulances and fixed-wing air ambulances.

All components work together to ensure high-quality, seamless emergency medical care to patients, regardless of where they are in the province. STARS physicians, nurses, paramedics and pilots work with a team of dedicated support staff and community partners to save lives.

STARS has bases in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Jason Morton
Senior Communications Advisor, AHS

Fatima Khawaja
Communications Lead, AB & BC, STARS