NSW Ambulance has confirmed a short-term lease of a helicopter it based at Dubbo during the heights of last year's COVID-19 outbreak has come to an end, and pointed to a suite of resources available to meet need going forward.
Among them is a new fleet of five "state-of-the-art aircraft" that first took to the skies on January 1.
In late September a helicopter operated by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and leased by NSW Ambulance until mid-December arrived at Dubbo.
It was part of the organisation surging resources in response to COVID-19.
This week a NSW Ambulance spokesperson said the short-term lease of a surge helicopter operated by Westpac had ended in mid-December.
With COVID again spreading in western NSW - with more than 4000 confirmed cases of the virus in the past seven days- the Daily Liberal asked the organisation what measures it had in place to respond to patients.
"On January 1 NSW Ambulance began operating a new fleet of five state-of-the-art aircraft enhancing NSW Ambulance's fixed-wing operations, improving patient transport speeds and reaching even more areas of the state," the spokesperson said.
"Western NSW has been provided with further support through additional shifts being added to our fixed-wing service operating out of Dubbo, in partnership with RFDS.
UP AND FLYING— NSW Ambulance (@NSWAmbulance) January 1, 2022
NSW Ambulance's brand new "hospitals in the sky" began operations today servicing regional and rural NSW.
The five aircraft are a major boost to NSW Ambulance’s fixed wing operations, improving patient transport speeds and reaching even more areas of the state. pic.twitter.com/wzgnaembFV
"The existing Helicopter Retrieval Network has nine operational helicopters geographically located throughout NSW and the ACT, including Orange and Tamworth.
"The fuel reserves and flight speed of these aircraft enable them to cross cover the surrounding areas.
Helicopters are forward deployed across the state as required to meet areas of additional need.A NSW Ambulance spokesperson
"Helicopters are forward deployed across the state as required to meet areas of additional need.
"NSW Ambulance works closely with Ministry of Health and the Local Health Districts to monitor demand and match resources to community need.
"Surge crews have also been deployed in response to areas of high demand, including the provision of additional aeromedical resources in both metropolitan and regional areas and in support of rural health facilities."
NSW Ambulance also continues to urge the community to only call triple zero for an emergency to ensure "we can assist the most urgent patients".
The spokesperson said if members of the public were not experiencing a medical emergency, they were urged to seek help from their GP, pharmacist or with a registered nurse available 24 hours a day at HealthDirect on 1800 022 222.
For those managing COVID-19 at home, NSW Health's COVID-19 Care at Home Support Line is also available on 1800 960 933.
"We also request patients waiting for an ambulance do not call back Triple Zero unless there has been a change to their condition," the spokesperson said.