19 Jul 2005

Despite infrastructure improvements Pitcairn medical evacuations still take time

8:18 pm on 19 July 2005

Despite its recent 6 POINT 6 million US dollar outlay on upgrading Pitcairn's infrastructure, Britain says there will still be problems with medical evacuations from the remote territory.

A woman from Pitcairn is currently being taken by ship for medical treatment in New Zealand, but she's not understood to be in a serious condition.

A spokesperson for the Pitcairn governor's office, Bryan Nicholson, says in medical emergencies, Pitcairners have to ask a ship to make the 36 hour voyage from Mangareva in French Polynesia, or hail any vessels in the area.

Mr Nicholson says because Pitcairn's out of helicopter range and there's no airstrip, the situation's set to continue.

"We're doing quite a lot in terms of upgrading facilities on the island, and putting in more regular shipping service too, so that will help in terms of reducing the isolation if there is an accident requiring emergency medical evacuation, and there's still going to be that tyranny of distance unfortunately."