Health Minister Bent Høie responded on Wednesday to harsh criticism over a lack of adequate air ambulance service in Northern Norway. He’s sending in extra aircraft and a military helicopter to offset technical trouble in the fleet of new air ambulance provider Babcock.
“The people of Northern Norway are worried about preparedness,” Høie said at at a press conference Wednesday morning. He said a military helicopter will thus remain in Kirkenes until at least the middle of January and possibly through the winter.
Babcock, he said, would place an extra air ambulance in Alta through Easter. After pilots have received training, the plane will also be able to land at small airports, Høie said. Extra jets that can be used in medical emergencies will also be stationed in Tromsø all winter, Høie said, with the aircraft also able to be used on Svalbard.
“I expect Babcock to deliver in line with its contract,” Høie said. Babcock won new competitive bidding for air ambulance service in Northern Norway, where vast distances and winter weather can hinder conventional ambulance service, but its fleet has been plagued by the technical problems.