The fleet of the emergency care Greek health services (EKAV) welcomed the addition of two Beechcraft King Air 350 air ambulances which landed in Greece on Thursday, acquired by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).
Previously, in March, two Augusta Westland 109 Trekker helicopters paid for by the same SNF Health Initiative grant had also been delivered to the country, in a bid to strengthen the capabilities and efficiency of EKAV’s air ambulance services.
All four new aircraft come fully equipped, with the most up-to-date medical technology available for EKAV’s specialized air ambulance staff, as well as state-of-the-art air navigation instruments.
Based on EKAV’s operations plan for air ambulance services, they will be directed to air transportation bases throughout Greece, including Elefsina, Rhodes, Syros, Aktio, and Thermi.
Greece’s air ambulance needs
SNF’s Health Initiative scheme, launched in 2017, exceeding $500 million in its total budget, is destined to contribute to a substantial upgrade in the services provided by EKAV by covering patients’ air transportation needs throughout Greece and into Europe.
“Access to health care should be a fundamental right for everyone, everywhere. Timely health care should not depend on who a person is, or where in the country they live.
“With this grant for new aircraft as part of the SNF Health Initiative, we seek — to the best of our abilities — to help enhance the efficiency of EKAV’s air ambulance services and, consequently, the sense of security that every resident of this country is entitled to,” SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos stated on the acquisition of the new aircraft.
The implementation of the grant was made possible through a collaboration between SNF; the Ministry of Health, which will have ownership of the new aircraft; EKAV, which will use them; and the Hellenic Air Force, which will assist in their flight operation.
Besides the air ambulances, the SNF Health Initiative comprises numerous infrastructure and education projects to improve the health sector in Greece.
In addition to the procurement of the new air ambulances, the SNF Health Initiative includes the construction of three new hospitals in Komotini, Thessaloniki and Sparta, expected to be completed in 2025.
Designed by internationally-renowned architect Renzo Piano, they are intended to be models in terms of care provided as well as environmental conscientiousness.
Four new PET/CT scans will also be installed at four regional hospitals around the country.
There is additional planning for the procurement of lab equipment, support for educational and research programs, and scholarships for the Nursing Department at NKUA and the educational Nursing Units at Evangelismos Hospital to support the nursing sector.
The grant has also provided for training programs for the prevention of in-hospital infections and the treatment of trauma (ATCN, PHTLS, ATLS, APLS); support for the child and adolescent mental health sector in Greece; strengthening the infrastructure of Attikon Hospital; and the provision of equipment for the School of Dentistry of NKUA.