EU funding for Covid-safe patient air transport needs fast-tracking


The safe transport of contagious patients is essential for optimising hospital capacity during the second spike of Covid-19, according to EpiGuard, a Norwegian company that provides solutions for the safe transportation of contagious patients. The comment is in response to European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, announcing that the European Commission is making € 220 million available to finance safe cross-border transfers of patients.

“The spread of the virus will overwhelm our healthcare systems if we don’t act urgently,” said von der Leyen. She encourages Europe’s member states to share data on ICU capacity, data on where capacity is lacking, and to increase cross-border patient care.

EpiGuard agrees and encourages the EU to make financing available as fast as possible. Ellen Cathrine Andersen, CEO of EpiGuard stated, “We experience that finance is at a critical point. Luxemburg Air Ambulance are crowd-funding EpiShuttles, while Greece ambulance service EKAB depend on well-doers to finance EpiShuttles. European patient transport is scrambling for money to fund safe isolation and transport. Time is of the essence to make these crucial funds available to organisations.

“We must be able to transport Covid-19 patients to where ICU capacity is available. Only when safe transport is in place can we utilise the full capacity of the entire healthcare system and ensure treatment for everyone,” added Andersen.

Andersen also stated that while healthcare workers are making an admirable effort in transporting patients, the disinfection of helicopters, aircraft and ambulances after each transport takes so much time that “the whole transport system may collapse”.

The EpiShuttle provides a completely sealed barrier between an infectious patient and the surrounding environment, protecting both aircraft and occupants. At the same time, it allows patient monitoring and full intensive care treatment during transport, including emergency procedures like intubation and the insertion of central venous catheters. The barrier can be re-used for the next mission.

“EpiGuard is currently experiencing a surge in demand for the EpiShuttle. With the numbers of confirmed cases increasing, the need for safe transport of patients is rising. Current demand witnesses Europe in crisis, and EpiGuard will scale-up production,” added Andersen.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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