Croatia is finally getting an Emergency Helicopter Medical Service

Helicopter emergency medical service (HHMS) is a matter of civilizational reach, and only then the added value of tourism. Especially in the context of 2023...


6. October 2023.

Helicopter emergency medical service (HHMS) is a matter of civilizational reach, and only then the added value of tourism. Especially in the context of 2023, as well as the fact that Croatia has a large number of inhabited islands and rural areas. HHMS significantly increases the availability and quality of health care in Croatia for the local population, and thus we have added value through tourism, where over 20 million tourists visit us every year. 

Croatia is a safe country and tourists recognize that. In addition to HGSS, we will now also have HHMS, which will certainly further position Croatia as a safe destination. Especially when we know that our tourism is mostly based on the summer months and family tourism. 

With the ceremonial handing over of the signed Contract on Public Procurement of Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HHMS) in the Republic of Croatia and a test flight by helicopter from the Aviation Technical Center to the KB Dubrava heliport, we are close to establishing an Emergency Helicopter Medical Service in Croatia with a total value of 62,5 million euros.

"This is a significant step forward as part of the program of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, which after several decades is giving rise to this project of strategic importance for the public health system and the citizens and visitors of the Republic of Croatia.", said Minister of Health Vili Beroš at the ceremonial handover of the signed contracts and the test flight of the Emergency Helicopter Medical Service.

4 bases are planned: Rijak and Split and Zagreb and Osijek 

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The signed Agreements on the public procurement of helicopter emergency medical services in the Republic of Croatia were preceded by an expert study and the approval of the Government to the line ministry and an international open public procurement procedure for Group 1 for two locations - Rijeka and Split bases and for Group 2 for two locations - Zagreb bases and Osijek.

For both groups of procurement items, in accordance with the EU procedure, the Italian-Spanish-Croatian community of bidders EliFriulia SpA - ELIANCE HELICOPTER GLOBAL SERVICES, SL - Eli-Adriatik doo was selected.
The mentioned Public Procurement Contracts for both groups are planned for a period of 7 years from the day of full operation of daily flights, which must be completed within 6 months from the date of conclusion of the public procurement contract, and for night flights within 9 months from the date of conclusion of the contract on public procurement, which is in line with successful EU practice and ensuring conditions for safety and familiarization with the area of ​​operations.
We implement reforms with the patient in focus under the motto Health is First
Edi Furlan, on behalf of the selected community of bidders, pointed out that today represents not only a turning point for the citizens and visitors of Croatia, but also a significant moment for the said community of bidders, which is fully ready to transfer the best European practice in the management of emergency medical services in Croatia with the main goal of saving human lives. The helicopters that will be deployed will be state-of-the-art Airbus H145 for the coastal bases of Split and Rijeka, and flexible Airbus EC135 for urban and rural areas of Zagreb and Osijek.

Upon notification, the crew must be ready for take-off within the deadline from three to five minutes. 


 "Just as the emergency medical service is guided by the ABC postulates of caring for emergency patients, I would say that with the recent helicopter emergency medical service as well as fast boats and the existing ground ambulance, we are getting a transportation ABC for a healthy and safe life in every part of Croatia. In this way, we implement reform measures in the field of emergency medicine and provide an equal chance for a healthy life to all citizens and visitors, wherever they are.", pointed out the Minister of Health.
The director of the Croatian Institute for Emergency Medicine, Maja Grba-Bujević, emphasized that it is the synergistic action of the ground, air and naval forces that enables patients to be treated for emergency conditions within "golden hour" which increases the chances of survival from 30 to 50 percent.

According to the plan, the establishment of the ABC system - ground, sea and helicopter assistance is to complete the training by the end of this year, and at the beginning of the second quarter of 2024, the HHMS should be fully operational.

The emergency helicopter medical service is significantly increasing the availability and quality of health care in its entire area, and the HHMS should start working, i.e. be operational in the first quarter of 2024.

By establishing this HHMS model, the Republic of Croatia will join a large number of European countries that already apply it, such as Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where it has proven to be extremely economical and efficient.

Croats have no perception of how much security plays a key role for our tourism and how safe a country we are, because it is normal for us. And that is why this is news that all tourism stakeholders must share with their guests through their media and social channels.


Cover photo: Ivica Djambo, Pexel / Croatian Institute of Emergency Medicine / Illustration: hrturism

Photo: Croatian Institute for Emergency Medicine



6. October 2023.