Private Air Ambulance Service Costs Up to Five Times More Per Patient Than Public System, Access to Information Records Show

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Records released to the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA) show that the private air ambulance service is far more expensive on a per-patient basis than the public system.

“Our members in Air Services have been telling us about the wastage in the private system and what that is costing the people of the province,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “These records confirm their concerns and attach a price tag to the wastage.”

The records below compare the private and public systems:

Year 2019-20 2020-21 2019-20 2020-21 2019-20 2020-21
Operator EVAS (Private) EVAS (Private) PAL (Private) PAL (Private) Air Services (Public) Air Services (Public)
Number of Patients 269 295 165 160 1053 944
Total Flight Hours 723.6 828.5 496.8 502.1 1983 2088
Average Hours per Patient 2.7 2.8 3 3.1 1.88 2.21
Total Cost $2,124,799 $2,834,215 $2,268,915 $2,192,465 $5,620,097 $5,428,564
Average cost per patient $7,899 $9,608 $13,751 $13,703 $2,444 $2,873


“There has been considerable talk, conjecture, and fear about privatization of public services in the wake of the PERT/Greene Report,” said Earle. “This is just another example of the pitfalls of privatization.”

“Throughout this pandemic, we have seen that when profits come before people, something has to give,” said Earle. “The profit motive has no place in our healthcare system.”

“NAPE has made the case to the provincial government that air ambulance services should be contracted in,” said Earle. “When response time is critical, the people of this province need and deserve a strong, effective, and efficient public air ambulance service that puts patient care above all else.”

“NAPE has presented concrete recommendations to the government on ways to improve the current air ambulance system by strengthening the public system and depending less on private contractors,” said Earle. “Our union, and the air ambulance members we represent who are experts in the field, firmly believe that implementing our recommendations will lead to better service delivery and reduced costs.”