A big honour has been given to the NWT air ambulance service. It received accredited status from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems Monday.  Flight nurse Aris Scott says the program is now one of only three across the nation to receive accreditation.

“It’s nice to join the other two services in Canada which are also recognized as services that operate at the highest standard.”

Gaining accredited status from the CAMTS meant the NWT air ambulance services was put through a thorough examination of operations and practices said President and CEO of Advanced Medical Solutions Sean Ivens.

“The process was quite extensive, it meant a complete rewriting of all of our policies, operating procedures, medical protocols.”

The NWT air ambulance service is a partnership between the NWT Health and Social Service Authority and the Aeromedical Critical Care Emergency Services Specialist. ACCESS is a partnership between Aklak Air, Air Tindi Ltd., and Advanced Medical Solutions.

Getting this new accreditation was part of the agreement between the territorial government and ACCESS when they signed a contract in 2015, Ivens explains.

“It’s a testament to the GNWT; it was written at the beginning of the contract for us to achieve the accreditation process over the life of the contract. The government had the foresight that we would be able to demonstrate to the people of the NWT that we perform at the highest standard.”

The NTHSSA was established to help make sure that quality improvement continues within the NWT health and social services system. Bartholomew Strak, Operations Manager with the air ambulance flight team, says that receiving accredited status was validating for a couple of reasons.

“It’s two-fold. It’s nice for our staff knowing that the training that they do and hours they put in, that there is a recognition that they are achieving a much higher level but it’s also important for the public to understand that we are held to a much higher standard than just our own.”

Ivens notes the NWT air ambulance service transports primarily all over the Northwest Territories but also goes to Edmonton when necessary

“We have two regional bases, one in Yellowknife and one in Inuvik. We transport roughly three people a day all over the Northwest Territories and usually take one person a day to Edmonton.”

Maintaining accredited status means that every month ACCESS will have regular check-ins with the CAMTS.