Bulgaria already has the first helicopter for emergency medical assistance by air

‘This is just the beginning of the air emergency. I hope it will be successful and in one or two years it will be a standard for us, as it is in other European countries.’ This was stated by Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov at the presentation of the first helicopter for emergency medical assistance by air, which took place at the ‘Border Police’ air base.

The Prime Minister noted that today is a day of celebration for Bulgarian healthcare, for Bulgaria's inclusion in European standards, for the European quality of life. Acad. Denkov thanked the European Commission for releasing the funding for the air ambulance, along with the co-financing from the national budget. The Prime Minister highlighted the merits of the Ministry of Health, which organizes most of the activities and is yet to take over the organization of the use of this helicopter, as well as the team of the Minister of Transport Georgi Gvozdeykov. ‘Congratulations to Minister Gvozdeykov for not giving up and putting in the right way the organisation and coordination of the different institutions, which allowed us to reach this result,’ Denkov said.

Prime Minister Acad. Denkov also thanked the producers from the Leonardo consortium. ‘We have their assurances that by the end of this year we will be able to enjoy two more such high-tech machines to save lives in Bulgaria,’ Denkov pointed out.

‘I am convinced that the opportunities that the specific air transport will provide will bring emergency care in our country to a qualitatively new level. I can boldly say that my team and I have achieved a lot in this direction, and one of the most important steps was to accelerate the process of ensuring equitable access to emergency medical care throughout the country’, the Minister of Health Prof. Hinkov said.

‘The creation of emergency medical assistance by air is a cause that should unite the whole society,’ the Minister of Transport and Communications Georgi Gvozdeykov said. He added that aviation is an industry that requires high professionalism and a lot of precision, and Bulgarian pilots have these qualities. Gvozdeykov also explained that the next helicopter is expected to be delivered in the middle of the year and the third air ambulance will arrive by the end of 2024.

The Head of the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria Boyko Blagoev noted that today's event is another reason for us, the Bulgarians, to be proud that we belong to the European family. ‘And also proof that 26 other nations care about Bulgarian healthcare and that all citizens have equal access to emergency medical treatment. This is European solidarity in action! It comes where it is most needed and meaningful — in this case, to help the people of Bulgaria, wherever they are in the country. This helicopter costs more than BGN 22 million and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the cohesion policy between weaker and stronger economies in the Union. In addition, BGN 148 million have been invested for the renovation of the emergency care centres and for the delivery of 400 new ambulances. And this is just the beginning. With nearly EUR 51 million from the Recovery and Resilience Plan there will be 5 more medical helicopters — to have a complete system for providing emergency medical assistance by air,’ Blagoev said.