Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cohuna airport upgrades to improve health services

The announcement of a $269,000 upgrade to Cohuna’s airport will help improve health services in the region.

TRENT HORNEMAN November 9, 2012 4:37am

Cohuna District Hospital chief executive Robert Bulmer believes a $269,000 upgrade to Cohuna’s airport will help health services in the region.

Mr Bulmer said the Victorian Government’s cash injection would increase safety for air ambulances and help attract specialists to the region.

He said about 20 to 30 patients were flown from Cohuna each year.

‘‘It is great news for Cohuna. The announcement to widen the landing strip will help to improve safety for pilots and allow more fixed-wing services,’’ he said.

‘‘Fixed-wing air ambulances is a safer and faster way to transport patients.

‘‘We are a smaller hospital but we also do a lot of acute work, including surgery. We have a visiting specialist who will benefit from the upgrade and it could also help to attract new specialists to the region.’’

Mr Bulmer said upgrades to the hospital were in line with aircraft upgrades in the air ambulance service.

‘‘The company that has the contract to fly air ambulances has new aircraft and they were concerned about safety issues,’’ he said.

‘‘Widening the runway and connecting power to help with nighttime landings will keep the pilots happy and safe.

‘‘We have about 20 or 30 patients airlifted from Cohuna each year, but they are all critical. It does not matter if you have one patient or 20 airlifted.’’

Victorian Aviation Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips yesterday announced $269,000 to upgrade the town’s airport to ensure air ambulance services could land around the clock at Cohuna airfield.

‘‘This upgrade could save lives by restoring 24-hour emergency air services to Cohuna,’’ Mr Rich-Phillips said.

‘‘The funding will be used to widen the airstrip which will mean Air Ambulance Victoria will be able to fly in and out of Cohuna, 24 hours a day.

‘‘It will also be used for other infrastructure works including the connections of mains power, realigning drainage infrastructure and relocating the windsock.’’

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