Some settlements in the Arkhangelsk region can only be reached by air. Even in the small towns and villages where there are working hospitals, it is not always possible to access the necessary means to help a patient. In such cases, the air ambulance brigade is sent. The brigade completes 500 flights and carries more than 800 patients each year in the region — both children and adults. The brigade travels either by MI-8 helicopter or by AN-2 or L-410 aircraft. On board there is everything necessary to provide emergency medical assistance and even carry out minor operations.
Each day, the brigade completes 3 or 4 flights. Each flight costs between 300,000 and 500,000 roubles. It takes flight only for seriously ill patients or for those who cannot otherwise access medical services independently, such as those who are cut off from civilization by water or the off-road situation. But more often patients have to be taken from smaller, local hospitals’ resuscitation units, which are significant inferior in terms of the available medical equipment to larger hospitals in the region. The Arkhangelsk region is far from being the only region where the air ambulance brigade is active. Air ambulance services operate in 34 Russian regions. In 2018 year, the Ministry of Health offered to cover all regions of the country with air ambulance services. Many of the doctors working in air ambulance brigades believe that the demand and pressure on them is increasing due to the continuing decrease of local hospitals in small towns and villages. It therefore turns out that, for residents of many corners of the country, the air ambulance services are the only hope for survival.