Pilots work unusual shifts, on standby for 24 hours on base, then enjoying 1 day off, followed by another another 1 day on standby and 5 days off.
All of Telstra Child Flight’s pilots adhere to the CASA Fatigue Management System and have their own lounge and sleeping accommodation on base.
Co-pilots are trained to assist Captains and receive on-going training from the Telstra Child Flight’s one ‘Check and Training Pilot’, who both have instructor rating and multi-engine training approval.
NETS is the acronym for the NSW new born and paediatric Emergency Transport Service. Based at Westmead, NETS is the medical service that coordinates the overall process of emergency transport of children across NSW.
The Clinical Coordination Centre receives calls to the NETS base at Westmead where they become conference calls involving specialists from a variety of hospitals who discuss the case at hand with the doctors and nurses treating the patient. A NETS consultant chairs this virtual case discussion. If a patient requires retrieval, the NETS team is dispatched by air or road from their base.
NETS act as a mobile intensive care unit at the referring hospital. They stabilise the baby or child and transport them to the appropriate hospital.
Unlike previous medical helicopters, NETS has the capacity to transport a full range of equipment as well as all of the medical personnel necessary to conduct a retrieval. In the past, these helicopters had the capacity to carry rescue equipment and the nurse and doctor, but were not able to transport the life support system, or perhaps had the life support system but no nurse.
The process of a retrieval can be an intense and fatiguing experience for everyone involved, including the medical staff and pilots. For this reason, we have an entire NETS team on stand by, who substitute the on call team if one or all members are not in a condition to perform another retrieval that same day. In our line of work it is vital that our teams are feeling 100%. The second team is also utilised when the first helicopter is already out on a mission and there is another emergency retrieval dispatched through to the team.
NETS medical personnel and Telstra Child Flight’s own crew work together to man the Telstra Child Flight helicopters.
The NETS team is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We greatly appreciate their hard work and dedication and thank them sincerely.