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Community & Business

25 January, 2023

Toowoomba is LifeFlight’s busiest base

Toowoomba LifeFlight was the aeromedical service’s busiest Queensland base in 2022, with 659 people helped.

The aeromedical missions were performed by the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and Toowoomba LifeFlight Surat Gas Aeromedical Service (SGAS) helicopters, which are based at the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre and cover a huge area of the state, from the Darling Downs and beyond.

In 2022, the Toowoomba-based helicopters clocked up 1,046 mission flying hours, the equivalent of being in the air for 44 days and nights.

LifeFlight Group Head of Operations Yvette Lutze said these helicopter crews respond to the full range of mission types. 

“Searches, winch rescues, perhaps someone at a rodeo who has fallen from a bull, or a horse-riding incident,” Ms Lutze said.

“Motor vehicle accidents are also high on the list of things we respond to in that area.”

The top five mission categories in 2022 for the Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and LifeFlight SGAS helicopters were: 

1. Medical/illness (83)

2. Motor vehicle accidents (74)

3. Medical/respiratory (not COVID-19) (70)

4. Cardiac (68)

5. Neurological (33)

The Toowoomba missions are estimated to cost approximately $16.5 million, but come at no cost to the patients.

Newly released statistics reveal inter-hospital transfers, which enable patients from the region to be airlifted to larger centres to access higher levels of care, make up the majority of missions, but motor vehicle incidents are the second most likely reason for a chopper to be called into action.

The Toowoomba aircraft, with Critical Care doctors and Flight Paramedics on board every mission, were tasked 74 times to the scene of serious on and off-road vehicle incidents, or to urgently transfer hospital patients in need of specialist care, after being injured in a crash.

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