The chief executive of the Swiss air rescue service, REGA, has said the service’s biggest challenge is the increase in bureaucracy.
“We try not to lose sight of our task, despite the obstacles,” said Ernst Kohler in an interviewexternal link with the Aargauer Zeitung newspaper on Monday.
He said they were operating at the intersection between aviation and medicine and the increasing amount of regulations and paperwork made it harder for the air ambulance to focus on its core mission: providing a high-quality service to its patients.
Another challenge was maintaining the independence of the organisation and its long-term financial security, Kohler said. Because the service did not receive any government subsidies, REGA “only exists because our patrons support us year after year with their solidarity contribution”, he said.
In recent years, the air ambulance has been deployed on more frequent rescue missions – an increase which was proportional to the population growth in Switzerland, he explained.
In addition, there had been a slight increase in repatriation missions due to the Swiss travelling more frequently.
The day-time rescue helicopter coverage in Switzerland was double compared to neighbouring Germany and at night it increased to ten times that of Germany, Kohler said.
“The excellent air ambulance service structure in Switzerland must be preserved so that future generations can also benefit from them,” Kohler said.