Due to the limited operation of the Maribor airport, helicopter emergency medical assistance in northeastern Slovenia is only available until 5 p.m. As of March 26, this will change and the operation will be extended until 8 p.m.
Helicopter emergency medical assistance (HNMP) is implemented with Edvard Rusjan Airport Maribor since November 2016. With this, the state has enabled emergency helicopter transport for residents of eastern Slovenia, while the western half of the country continues to be covered by a helicopter team stationed at the Brno airport.
In Brnik, the hours of operation of the HNMP are more or less limited only by daylight, and in Maribor, due to the limited hours of operation of the airport, helicopters are only available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Discussions are underway between the Ministries of Health, Defense and Infrastructure in order to unify the implementation time of the HNMP in Maribor with the implementation time in Brnik. This was announced by the then Minister of Infrastructure during a visit to Maribor before last year’s elections Bojan Kumerand it should be realized on March 26 this year, when we will move the hours from winter to summer time and the implementation of the HNMP from Brnik will be extended until 8 p.m.
The same in Maribor and Brnik
“From March 26, 2023, the HNMP unit at Edvard Rusjan Maribor Airport will have the same working hours as the HNMP unit at Jože Pučnik Airport Ljubljana,” the Ministry of Infrastructure told the Slovenian Press Agency.
HNMP is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, while the management of the airport falls under the Ministry of Infrastructure, which is currently looking for a concessionaire. A military helicopter is used for transport.
Mally: We will finally be able to work during the daylight hours
The head of the emergency medical aid unit in the Maribor health center Stefan Mally welcomes the intention to extend the implementation time of the Maribor HNMP, but has not yet made an official decision on this. “Finally, we will be able to work the way we have always wanted, i.e. the whole daylight part of the day. This means the same availability of helicopter emergency medical assistance for the residents of northeastern Slovenia as for the rest of us,” he said.
The HNMP unit takes care of transporting patients in emergencies, such as accidents, heart attacks and strokes. It takes patients to the University Clinical Center (UKC) Maribor, where the problem is the landing. Since the emergency center was built years ago only up to the first phase, it does not have a heliport on the roof, but helicopters land on a platform near the surgical tower. A few days ago, according to the director of UKC Maribor, Anton Crnjac received a letter from the Ministry of Defense that the landing site needs to be expanded, which is why nearby parking spaces are now being withdrawn there. Mally said that the matter will be resolved within two weeks at the latest and that the helicopters are still landing undisturbed within the Maribor University Hospital.
In order to check the organization, readiness and competence of the forces for protection, rescue and assistance to take action in the event of a possible plane crash, on Saturday at Edvard Rusjan Maribor Airport, they will conduct the Maribor 2023 Air Crash exercise. The training activities are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. announced by the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Protection and Rescue.