Alberta Health Services will set up a new air ambulance base at the Edmonton International Airport in March, a result of the city’s decision to close the City Centre Airport.
"In developing an alternative solution, our primary concern was, and is, to ensure the highest-possible patient safety and quality of care," wrote Health Minister Fred Horne in a release.
"We have achieved that with this new state-of-the-art facility."
In May, Alberta’s Health Quality Council studied the impact of the airport closure on medevac services. It made 18 recommendations to ease the transition of air ambulance from the municipal airport to the international.
AHS says that it has reviewed those recommendations when setting up the new base and approved some of them, including storing dedicated ground ambulances at the airport to take patients to hospitals.
The base will also have a six-bed care centre staffed by emergency workers to provide temporary care to patients. AHS says most urgent patients will be flown directly to hospital by helicopter.
The 3,600 square-metre hangar is to be set up in March.
The medevac base was one of issues cited by opponents in their long battle to keep the City Centre Airport from closing.
Edmonton city councillor Kim Krushell says Monday's announcement is an important step in redeveloping the airport lands.
"We have been waiting ... on ensuring that all of the concerns around medevac were being addressed by Alberta Health Services," she said.
"With this announcement, obviously that is the case and in fact it looks like they're going to have, I think, a very effective system put in place that looks like it could actually improve service for medevac."
Krushell says there's still no date for the full closure of the airport.
One of the two runways closed in 2009 and scheduled service ended in June 2012.