Healthcare facilities in Andalusia achieve a higher performance

This network of 59 new heliports in Andalusia, Spain is helping to improve healthcare for the local population by increasing the number of landing areas available for helicopters and significantly reducing the response time in emergencies.

Additional tools

Print  
Heliport in Ubrique, part of Andalusia’s new heliport network  © Mª Dolores del Valle López Heliport in Ubrique, part of Andalusia’s new heliport network © Mª Dolores del Valle López

" This project brings very immediate results and helps local communities to identify themselves with the developments made in their city and their region. "

Luis Olavarría, Health Emergency Management Andalusia

Andalusia is one of Spain’s largest regions, with a diverse geography ranging from mountainous areas such as the Sierra Morena to long, sandy beaches in Almeria and Huelva. This diversity is reflected in its population, since an important part (more than 2 million people) are scattered across these areas, living far from hospital and other health amenities.

To provide better-quality, more effective and faster healthcare facilities for its inhabitants, it was necessary to improve accessibility in case of emergencies. The new Heliport Network has helped to solve this problem.

With EU funding, the Andalusian Council of Health has set up 59 innovative heliports across the region. They have been built mainly in hospitals or municipalities with older facilities and in rural areas with no access to air transport. 

Thanks to this project, the response times of air medical teams in Andalusia were reduced and patients’ security and comfort improved. The project has facilitated and streamlined access by air to both the most distant municipalities and the hospitals themselves, which is particularly important when transferring patients with serious injuries or illnesses.

These heliports will serve as base for a fleet of five medical helicopters, each with a doctor and a nurse exclusively dedicated to this type of service. They are located in five strategic points across Andalusia, which allows them to cover the whole community in less than 30 minutes.

Innovation on the ground

The innovative nature of the network is linked to the features available to the helicopters and pilots during take-off and landing. The heliports are equipped with a specific beaconing and lighting systems that inform the pilot during a night flight if the route is adequate at the time of landing.

The beaconing system comprises a headlight pinpointing its location, an illuminated windsock, and spotlights for tracking and lighting systems. All these lights can be activated by radio frequency from the helicopter as it approaches the landing area at the heliport, which is positioned to enable the helicopters to approach and take-off without further obstacles.

In the zone 

The locations of the heliports were based on geographical criteria, dispersion, level of isolation from health centres and whether the population was growing or shrinking. The aim was to analyse the different obstacles to determine the most suitable places for construction, as well as the actions needed to secure the take-off and landing zones.

In total, there are 59 different zones, including the Hospital de Baza (Granada), the Regional Hospital ‘Punta de Europa’ in Algeciras and in the town of Villamartín (Cádiz), the Hospital de la Inmaculada in Huércal Overa, and the municipalities of Pulpí, Vera, Serón and María (Almería).

 

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Heliports Network of Andalusia” is EUR 6 095 504, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 4 876 403 through the “Andalusia” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Jobs, Growth and Investment”.

 

Draft date

11/02/2019