Global healthcare provider Iqarus has developed and launched a new service to safely manage suspected cases of coronavirus following workers’ disembarkation from offshore locations.
The new service, COVID-19 Medevac (CMED), includes assessments to determine if a worker is fit to travel and the provision of tailored advice from the Iqarus clinical team, in line with current Health Protection Scotland guidance.
Since the first reports of a confirmed case of coronavirus on an offshore installation in the Norwegian section of the North Sea, the number of suspected and confirmed cases has steadily increased.
Iqarus has been working with its client base to support them in mitigating their risk, encouraging clients to monitor the situation closely and advise them on how best to continue operations safely.
The healthcare provider has now developed a service to support clients with the receipt, transfer, and assessment of suspected cases of COVID-19 from Aberdeen heliports that allows duty holders to meet their obligation to assess patients and determine if they are fit for onward travel.
Stuart Scott, clinical director for offshore, topside, and diving at Iqarus, said, “Offshore assets … are confined spaces, with plenty of movement by multinational staff on and off the rig, usually by helicopter between onshore bases in Norway and the UK. With cases increasing across both countries, it was only ever a matter of time before the virus spread to offshore platforms.”
In order to offer a solution to the growing concern of operators and offshore workers, Iqarus can now offer clinically appropriate transport from either of the Aberdeen heliports to its dedicated reception center in Aberdeen.
Following initial offshore assessment from the asset medic, the patient will then be transported via bespoke helicopters—dubbed “corona copters”—that meet full hygiene standards for each trip.
Upon arrival onshore, the patient is assessed, following which the healthcare provider’s team of specialist clinicians will advise suitability for onward travel or, alternatively, refer them to the next point of assessment.
“Until now, returning suspected or confirmed cases back to shore for treatment was a predicament,” Scott said. “The wellbeing of others and mitigation of infection spread is paramount to operations. Flying patients back brought with it concerns for pilots’ safety, whilst teams onshore have not been properly set up to deal with potentially high-risk cases.
“This new service, further backed by the recently confirmed helicopter operators, means that we can assess those patients quickly with the best quality of care at the heart of it.”
Scott also reminded clients and the wider business community that following government guidelines and best practice for good hygiene is still key to restricting the spread of the virus.
“For offices, we recommend following the standard guidance for any business in terms of good hygiene and travel screening,” he said. “It’s all about educating employees and keeping them informed. We all have a responsibility to protect the people who work for us and with us.”
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