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The ASA+ FNA Conference Photo Competition for 30th Aeromedical Society of Australasia and Flight Nur

Transformational Change in Aeromedical Services for Northern NSW


Robert Jenkins / Michael de Winton
Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service, New Lambton, Australia


Mike de Winton
Chief Pilot, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

Following a distinguished career in the British Navy, Mike de Winton joined the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service in 2000. As Chief Pilot, Mike actively flies missions throughout Northern NSW and leads the Service’s team of Pilots and Aircrew Officers.



The purpose of Mike’s presentation is to identify the critical issues encountered by his Service as it continued to operate an existing service, whilst driving transformational change to establish its new operations under a ten year contract with the NSW Government. This new contract commenced in 2017. The significant period of change included the construction of two new bases and the expansion of two others; integration of Lismore Service with existing Hunter / New England Service, moving to a fleet of Agusta Westland AW139’s from the previous fleet of Bell 412’s, BK 117 and Dauphin’s; and a range of significant human related change factors.


Mike will highlight the scale of the required change, challenges encountered and some key learning’s from the experience.


The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service) was established in 1975 as a voluntary weekend beach patrol. Today it operates 24/7 from three bases in Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore with heavy maintenance and headquarters operating from its base in Broadmeadow. Today the Service delivers world class aeromedical search, rescue and inter-hospital transfers to care for 1.5 million people throughout Northern NSW. It is approaching 2,000 missions each year and nobody has ever had to pay to be assisted.


This presentation will give the back ground of the WRHS, issues encountered during contract transition to the new ten year contract with NSWA, the scale of change and managing this change safely. Identified priorities, challenges, partnerships and lessons learned throughout transition and implementation will also be discussed.



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