Why Was Helicopter Medical Service Project Discontinued?

Total Croatia News

Former project manager talks about the results of this programme.

Miljenko Bura, former Assistant Health Minister and head of the Helicopter Medical Service project which ended in January, criticized the decision to discontinue helicopter medical service which was available to patients on islands and in the hinterland, reports Večernji List on March 23, 2016.

“A flight of a military transport helicopter from Split to Vis and back costs 84,000 kunas and lasts for 77 minutes while the same flight with medical helicopters used by Italian companies that took part in the project cost 41,000 kunas and lasted for 53 minutes. Medical helicopters did not fly at night, not because of some technical reasons, but because there was not enough money. During the four-month pilot project, there were less weather related delays than with military transport helicopters which consume three times more fuel”, says Bura. All these information is listed in a 160-page study which was never presented to the public. So he decided to publish the facts in order to defend the project which was criticized by many.

“We did not have money from sources that were planned because everyone started cancelling our agreements: ministries, counties, Croatian National Tourist Board, and finally the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance. So, we were saving their patients, but they were not ready to pay for even just a part of the costs. There were many who were trying to bring this project into question”, says Bura.

“There was a lot of talk about money being spent. We paid 7.8 million kuna for flights and 2.1 million kuna on the education of doctors and technicians and medical supplies. That was covered by the World Bank, which realized that the project made sense and that we would demonstrate new ways of saving patients. The helicopters were not flying during the night because in the end we did not have money to pay for it. The issue of the maximum body weight of patients is a lie as well. These helicopters have been designed for seven people, but we had only four”, explains Bura.

He notes that politics got involved in the project, although he tried to avoid it. “As a non-partisan person, I did not take into account the issue of politics. At the end, we were left virtually alone, abandoned even by those who should have supported us”, says Bura.

“We now have a category of patients, those with a heart attack or stroke, who cannot wait for a transport helicopter to come and pick them up. And we have 40 percent of people dying within the first 30 days after an accident. Nobody is talking about that. That is two times more than in the rest of Europe”, warns Bura.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment