01/21/2013 12:12 EST | Updated 03/23/2013 05:12 EDT

STARS Service Change: Alberta Health Says Air Ambulance Changes In Edmonton Won't Affect Patient Care

EDMONTON - The Alberta government says moving air ambulance operations to Edmonton International Airport will not affect the quality of patient care.

The base is being moved in March because of the City of Edmonton's decision to close the city centre airport.

The change will see Alberta Health Services move its air ambulance services to a new hangar next to a facility operated by the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society, known as Stars.

Stars helicopters will be used to shuttle emergency patients from the international airport to hospitals in the city.

Health Minister Fred Horne says to ensure quality care, the base will include a six-bed patient area staffed by paramedics.

Alberta Health says of the 3,000 patients flown into Edmonton by air ambulance each year, only a small percentage are urgent critical care cases.

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