Montserrat works with Caribmedevac for air ambulance services

CaribMedevac’s Pilatus PC-12 at JAO airport

The Air Ambulance by St. Barth Executive (St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ – SBE) made an inaugural landing at the John A. Osborne Airport at approximately 11:35 a.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, in their Pilatus PC-12 (See more on the aircraft at BarthsExecutivedot.com)

This was part of an approval process to operate flights from Montserrat, in finalising arrangements for an additional airline to provide medical evacuation services (medevac) from Montserrat to other countries with the Government of Montserrat through the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). The process is finally to be able to transfer some of the islands critical patients to other regional hospitals, and further afield, as required.

Caribmedevac touches down and taxiing during its tests of landing and taking off exercises at JAirport on Feb 4 20 Caribmedevac

Once they have been approved to operate commercially, Caribmedevac and its medical crew will be available, based on the MOHSS request, to provide medical transportation services from Montserrat to other destinations, including long-range international flights to the USA.

Invited to a Press Briefing and Air Ambulance Tour, MoHSS officials and mostly other staff, nurses, doctors, involved in the process were on hand to witness the first arrival of the Air Ambulance (air ambulance aircraft) by St. Barth Executive Caribmedevac an organisation which has been operating for five years already.

Vincent Beauvarlet, CEO
Minister of Health Charles Kirnon with PS Gerald and CMO Greenaway-Duberry in the background

There was a welcome ceremony for the medical transportation visit opening with a prayer, followed by welcome by Permanent Secretary Mrs. Camille Thomas-Gerald, brief addresses by the Hon Health Minister Charles Kirnon and Chief Medical Officer Mrs. Sharra Greenaway-Duberry,  who at her turn said she was more than excited that the hard work to bring in the SBE to Montserrat had reached this far. She expressed gratitude to the medical staff, officials, fire and rescue and all of those who support the work of the ministry for their unwavering support.

Minister Kirnon noted that this arrangement will add an extra level of resilience in Montserrat’s health sector, and is timely, especially as we are moving towards the goal of a new hospital.

, CEO Vincent Beauvarlet MoHSS officials and staff – above: Veronica Dorsette-Hector and OECS, official

“This air access development for our medical services links with the broader healthcare development and the new hospital, so that we maximize and improve our healthcare services and outcomes, stabilizing our health system now and for the future,” he said, while Mrs. Camille Thomas-Gerald echoing the sentiments and further noted that securing this service is part of the Ministry’s strategic objective.

“The MOHSS has an obligation to ensure that our patients are being provided with optimal healthcare services at all times, and to do this we must continually explore avenues through which we can expand and optimize healthcare delivery, for our patients on the ground and those we are transporting overseas,” Mrs. Gerald said.

Pilots who flew in the Caribmedevac aircraft

Prior to this arrangement with ‘Caribmedevac’, local commercial airline Fly Montserrat, provided air transportation services exclusively for the MoHSS when requested. “I want to also acknowledge the role that Fly Montserrat has played over the years, and will continue to play along with St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ for our medical air transfers”, added Health Minister, Honourable Kirnon.

Fly Montserrat will continue to provide the short 20-minute trips to Antigua. Minister Kirnon added that it is his hope that the island will become less dependent on the need to fly patients out of Montserrat.

Vincent Beauvarlet, CEO and Director of Operations who also addressed the small gathering, gave details of the French company an air carrier under European Commission Regulation, which boasts Safety, Experience, and services.  ‘Caribmedevac’ is based Guadeloupe, St. Barthélémy and St. Martin, is an EASA-certificated scheduled air carrier servicing the region with urgent air transportation for a medical crew, medical equipment, blood, organs or lab samples. Caribmedevac is a Trademark of St Barth Executive.

Beauvarlet explained that their aim is to offer rates which are about 10% of what many countries presently pay for medivacs. He cited Dominica who may need to send a critical care patient to Trinidad must hire a plane out of Miami at a cost of around US$25,000.  He points out that since St. Barth Executive, will have planes on St. Barths, Guadeloupe and St. Martin it will make it much easier and more affordable to serve the region.

At question time TMR prompted by the sounds of the high costs involved, asked the only question that time allowed before three groups of ten were afforded a tour of the air ambulance aircraft under the guidance of the two pilots. “How do you get paid? Is it going to be done by an insurance company or strictly by the government?”

The CEO did take some time with his answer, continually reminding that his English is not very good. He said: “…most of the time it is the hospital who manages everything, the local hospital, the local hospital call us and says we have this case… then our doctors can study it, this is the first step… then we do a quote the best quote we can with one medics or two medics…”

He gave an example of how the money is raised: “…they share, the insurance put 20 %, the social security put 10% and the family put 50%, sometimes it’s the opposite. Sometimes social security puts 50% sometimes insurance puts 40%, sometimes the insurance calls for 100% if they have full coverage…”

He noted: “very few citizens of Caribbean – full coverage because of the rates… we have no issue on payments everyone is trusting everyone so when we need to, we take off…” suggesting all along that the payment gets worked out.

The idea of that question was to raise the question and propose that the government and people of Montserrat to benefit from the upscaled services, notwithstanding the Minister’s hope that with the new hospital, Montserrat ‘will’ not have a need for too much of that kind of service.

As later explained by the pilots, the aircraft, which is Swiss made, is able to fly to Trinidad in one hour from Montserrat and 55 minutes to Barbados at a height of 31,000 feet.

The CEO in his delivery noted, confirming Minister Kirnon, that they will not replace FlyMontserrat as their services will only provide longer runs. He provided in-depth details of their service. Some of the features of the air ambulance include reduced cabin noise in flight; no vibration; last generation special air medical pressure and the ability to fly around and above any weather disturbance.

He points out that they meet the region’s medivac needs, with trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft. The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.

To be able to accomplish its goal of serving the region’s medivac needs, the airline has trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft.

The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft with its single-engined turbine designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.

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CaribMedevac’s Pilatus PC-12 at JAO airport

The Air Ambulance by St. Barth Executive (St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ – SBE) made an inaugural landing at the John A. Osborne Airport at approximately 11:35 a.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, in their Pilatus PC-12 (See more on the aircraft at BarthsExecutivedot.com)

This was part of an approval process to operate flights from Montserrat, in finalising arrangements for an additional airline to provide medical evacuation services (medevac) from Montserrat to other countries with the Government of Montserrat through the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). The process is finally to be able to transfer some of the islands critical patients to other regional hospitals, and further afield, as required.

Caribmedevac touches down and taxiing during its tests of landing and taking off exercises at JAirport on Feb 4 20 Caribmedevac

Once they have been approved to operate commercially, Caribmedevac and its medical crew will be available, based on the MOHSS request, to provide medical transportation services from Montserrat to other destinations, including long-range international flights to the USA.

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Invited to a Press Briefing and Air Ambulance Tour, MoHSS officials and mostly other staff, nurses, doctors, involved in the process were on hand to witness the first arrival of the Air Ambulance (air ambulance aircraft) by St. Barth Executive Caribmedevac an organisation which has been operating for five years already.

Vincent Beauvarlet, CEO
Minister of Health Charles Kirnon with PS Gerald and CMO Greenaway-Duberry in the background

There was a welcome ceremony for the medical transportation visit opening with a prayer, followed by welcome by Permanent Secretary Mrs. Camille Thomas-Gerald, brief addresses by the Hon Health Minister Charles Kirnon and Chief Medical Officer Mrs. Sharra Greenaway-Duberry,  who at her turn said she was more than excited that the hard work to bring in the SBE to Montserrat had reached this far. She expressed gratitude to the medical staff, officials, fire and rescue and all of those who support the work of the ministry for their unwavering support.

Minister Kirnon noted that this arrangement will add an extra level of resilience in Montserrat’s health sector, and is timely, especially as we are moving towards the goal of a new hospital.

, CEO Vincent Beauvarlet MoHSS officials and staff – above: Veronica Dorsette-Hector and OECS, official

“This air access development for our medical services links with the broader healthcare development and the new hospital, so that we maximize and improve our healthcare services and outcomes, stabilizing our health system now and for the future,” he said, while Mrs. Camille Thomas-Gerald echoing the sentiments and further noted that securing this service is part of the Ministry’s strategic objective.

“The MOHSS has an obligation to ensure that our patients are being provided with optimal healthcare services at all times, and to do this we must continually explore avenues through which we can expand and optimize healthcare delivery, for our patients on the ground and those we are transporting overseas,” Mrs. Gerald said.

Pilots who flew in the Caribmedevac aircraft

Prior to this arrangement with ‘Caribmedevac’, local commercial airline Fly Montserrat, provided air transportation services exclusively for the MoHSS when requested. “I want to also acknowledge the role that Fly Montserrat has played over the years, and will continue to play along with St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ for our medical air transfers”, added Health Minister, Honourable Kirnon.

Fly Montserrat will continue to provide the short 20-minute trips to Antigua. Minister Kirnon added that it is his hope that the island will become less dependent on the need to fly patients out of Montserrat.

Vincent Beauvarlet, CEO and Director of Operations who also addressed the small gathering, gave details of the French company an air carrier under European Commission Regulation, which boasts Safety, Experience, and services.  ‘Caribmedevac’ is based Guadeloupe, St. Barthélémy and St. Martin, is an EASA-certificated scheduled air carrier servicing the region with urgent air transportation for a medical crew, medical equipment, blood, organs or lab samples. Caribmedevac is a Trademark of St Barth Executive.

Beauvarlet explained that their aim is to offer rates which are about 10% of what many countries presently pay for medivacs. He cited Dominica who may need to send a critical care patient to Trinidad must hire a plane out of Miami at a cost of around US$25,000.  He points out that since St. Barth Executive, will have planes on St. Barths, Guadeloupe and St. Martin it will make it much easier and more affordable to serve the region.

At question time TMR prompted by the sounds of the high costs involved, asked the only question that time allowed before three groups of ten were afforded a tour of the air ambulance aircraft under the guidance of the two pilots. “How do you get paid? Is it going to be done by an insurance company or strictly by the government?”

The CEO did take some time with his answer, continually reminding that his English is not very good. He said: “…most of the time it is the hospital who manages everything, the local hospital, the local hospital call us and says we have this case… then our doctors can study it, this is the first step… then we do a quote the best quote we can with one medics or two medics…”

He gave an example of how the money is raised: “…they share, the insurance put 20 %, the social security put 10% and the family put 50%, sometimes it’s the opposite. Sometimes social security puts 50% sometimes insurance puts 40%, sometimes the insurance calls for 100% if they have full coverage…”

He noted: “very few citizens of Caribbean – full coverage because of the rates… we have no issue on payments everyone is trusting everyone so when we need to, we take off…” suggesting all along that the payment gets worked out.

The idea of that question was to raise the question and propose that the government and people of Montserrat to benefit from the upscaled services, notwithstanding the Minister’s hope that with the new hospital, Montserrat ‘will’ not have a need for too much of that kind of service.

As later explained by the pilots, the aircraft, which is Swiss made, is able to fly to Trinidad in one hour from Montserrat and 55 minutes to Barbados at a height of 31,000 feet.

The CEO in his delivery noted, confirming Minister Kirnon, that they will not replace FlyMontserrat as their services will only provide longer runs. He provided in-depth details of their service. Some of the features of the air ambulance include reduced cabin noise in flight; no vibration; last generation special air medical pressure and the ability to fly around and above any weather disturbance.

He points out that they meet the region’s medivac needs, with trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft. The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.

To be able to accomplish its goal of serving the region’s medivac needs, the airline has trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft.

The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft with its single-engined turbine designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.