Telstra Child Flight has lost out to CareFlight for a four and a half year NSW government contract to fly medical teams from the newborn and paediatric emergency transport service (NETS) in Sydney.
From January 1, the 24-hour service to transfer medical teams and patients from anywhere in NSW to leading hospitals in Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra will be operated by CareFlight’s Bell 412 and BK-117 helicopters based at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney.
CEO of the national aeromedical charity Derek Colenbrander said: “The long history of caring for kids means we are the ideal service to undertake this very important mission in partnership with the NSW government. This is welcome news for the community which has supported our charity so strongly over the past 26 years through donations, the purchase of CareFlight bears and other fundraising activities,” Colenbrander added.
However, the contract award has come as a blow for the Telstra Child Flight service, which has operated the service for 23 years: “After more than two decades in the air, the only emergency helicopter service specialising in the transport of critically ill kids has lost its Ambulance NSW contract to a new operator,” Child Flight said in a statement.
“With less than six weeks before contract commencement, the new contractor will be challenged to be a service equal to Child Flight, which raises concerns for the communities affected and questions about the fairness of the NSW government’s tender process.”