Helicopter emergency medical services response times in norway: do they matter?

Air Med J. 2015 Mar-Apr;34(2):98-103. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2014.11.003.


Objective: The main objective of the Norwegian air ambulance service is to provide advanced emergency medicine to critically ill or severely injured patients. The government has defined a time frame of 45 minutes as the goal within which 90% of the population should be reached. The aims of this study were to document accurate flying times for rotor wing units to the scene and to determine the rates of acute primary missions in Norway.

Methods: We analyzed operational data from every acute primary mission from all air ambulance bases in Norway in 2011, focusing on the flying time taken to reach scene, the municipality requesting the flight, and the severity score data.

Results: A total of 5,805 acute primary missions were completed in Norway in 2011. The median flying time was 19 minutes (25%-75% percentiles: 13-28). The mean mission rate for the 17 bases was 7.5 (95% confidence interval, 7.4-7.8 per 10,000 inhabitants). The overall mean (standard deviation) National Committee on Aeronautics score for all missions was 4.07 (1.30).

Conclusion: The government's expectation of serving the entire population via HEMS within 45 minutes appears to be achieved on a national level. However, vast differences remain in the flying times and rates between bases.

MeSH terms

  • Air Ambulances*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Humans
  • Norway
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors