Ex-health minister director at new air ambulance

| 26/08/2014

(CNS): A new air-ambulance service that will be doing business with the Health Services Authority, Health City Cayman Islands, as well as Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital will be housing a Cessna Citation Ultra V jet on Grand Cayman dedicated to providing air medical services 24 hours per day, seven days per week, according to the firm, Aitheras Aviation Group. Mark Scotland, the health minister during the previous administration, is now a director of the firm, which was founded in 2005. A recent report by the auditor general had raised concerns about the management of such services, on which government spends more than three-quarters of a million dollars per year.

According to a release from Aitheras Aviation Group, its air ambulance will be based at the Island Air hanger at the Owen Roberts International Airport. Describing itself as Cayman’s first air medical provider, it has partnered with Dr Steve Tomlinson and the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital to provide critical care transport personnel for all air medical transports. In addition to the jet on Cayman, a backup Citation is being stationed in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

A report by the auditor general published in 2013 examining how government deals with medical emergency airlift during the financial year ending June 2012 stated that there were 71 medical evacuations via the government health insurance company, CINICO, costing government US$814,623. Alistair Swarbrick had raised concerns over unlicensed operation of a ground handling service, uncertainty over medical personnel, political interference, a lack of proper public tendering and a failure to document proper procedures by the HSA, CINICO and the CIAA.

Whether or not this new service will make a difference to government costs or whether it will be focused entirely on those covered by private insurance has not been stated but in a release Scotland, who was described as being "instrumental in establishing the company" here in Cayman, said it would reduce the time it takes to get patients to the care needed.

“By having a plane based on Grand Cayman, Aitheras will significantly improve the response time for air ambulance services. We are also glad to be working with Chrissie Tomlinson Hospital to use local personnel for the medical transport,” he stated.

Aitheras Aviation Group, LLC is based in Cleveland, Ohio and has transported patients to over 38 countries. The company operates 13 aircraft specially configured for medical transports as well as executive charter. It is an on-demand aircraft operation that arranges for transports from anywhere around the world. The Aitheras call centre and crews are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to dispatch immediately available aircraft.

Mitch Stanaland is the company’s Operations Manager and he now has an office on Airport Road. 

See the auditor’s report on the Management of Air Ambulance Services below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As I read this I can't help but think that Mark held some cards close to his chest while in and after leaving office. From the blog, there appears to be at least a few Caymanians that presented him with their ideas and he did absolutely nothing to help move the process of having an air ambulance on island. while he was in office although clearly it was a necessity and always has been.

    It is interesting how  as CNS puts it "He was instrumental in establishing the company."  It certainly must have been really easy for him if he had all the inside knowledge and business plans on how to do so.

    It would have been fairer to the other Caymanians involved that he met with them to possible put together a collaborative plan that would benefit all but like a pig to the trough he bellied up for the full meal. It sure would have put him in a better light and not let him look like he pushed them away so that he could have the whole pie for himself.

    One would have to question where this company came from and whether or not he had ties with them while in office. Did he wait out these other folks that wanted to do the air ambulance service so that he could do it himself? Did he in fact use any of their business plans and models?

    Using one's political office to further one's personal career financially has been done time and time agian..These politicians need to know that the people put them there and they put them there to look out for their interest not the politicians?

    Lastly, is this company ready to be exposed if there was a prior relationship with the previous minister? I'm sure they don't want to tarnish their good reputation. It would be nice to hear from them becasue sure as hell we won't ever hear from Mark Scotland.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like it's time for another Anti-Corruption investigation..These guys never cease to amaze me..

    The truth will always come out in the end..

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is almost comedic to see all these politicians being called out for what they have done.. These guys are so use to having things their way and believing they are above everyone else and that will never be held accountable.

    I am sure it won't be long before we hear that the clinking noise of hand bracelets in this particular case as well.

    I am so ashamed and embarassed. These guys make all Caymanians look bad.


  4. Anonymous says:

    This is a difficult one. On one hand it will be nice to have an air ambulance here, but on the other hand to see how one former politician after numerous presentations from local Caymanians to do this service whilst he was in office, did nothing to encourage or asist them in their efforts which required the ministry approval and blessing. He instead, within two years of leaving office, having knowledge of all of these operators business plans and financial numbers, seized the opportunityto do exactly what he refused to do for the other local Caymanians.

    I hope that the Police and Anti Corruption unit will look into to this.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So the man got a job after politics, what's the big freaking deal. You people are all masters of hating. How in the world can you call yourselves god fearing Chirstians when you are all lead by the Green Eyed Devil and are full of evny…


    Disgusting it is…

  6. Anonymous says:

    A picture of a fat piggie at the trough would be more appropriate.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I don't know why everybody finds this an issue. Mark Scotalnd is doing no more than any of the politicians before him have done. They tell us they are going into politics to save us but are there only to fill their pockets and enjoy the perks and when they are done with that they come out and become some of the richest people in Cayman because they have all the inside knowledge and plans that never got implemented.  Ethics appear to be non-existent.

    Mark never supported the young man from Bodden Town when he wanted to start up his air ambulance business, in fact discouraged him. This was someone from his own district by the way.  In addition , he didn't support the young pilot that has spent hundreds f thousands of dollars setting up his own company…What will become of him and his company? Mark has already tied up all three hospitals  for himself and his company and he can do that because of his political connections long after he has left office. Lastly he has basically put the nail in Ms. Marjorie's operation something that he had been hell bent on doing for years.

    Everybody has their day and Mark yours will come too.

  8. 4Cayman says:

    Disgusting! He should be flogged or jailed – isn't this like insider trading? What next Ozzie to open his own garbage or recycling business? 

    We might as well just get in bed with the gambino family!

    • Anonymous says:

      Surely, took a long time for John public to realize the insider trading. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem with us Caymanians is that we constantly see this corruption and we talk about it but we never demand that these people be held accountable under the law.

        Mark got away with being elected when he shouldn't have and like most of the other politicians they are fine as long at they are on the money train and as soon as they are kicked out of office they use the contacts they made whilst in office to further themselves financially whether tehy see it as conflict or not.They just don't care.


        This man went from paving roads to a politican/minister of health to an air ambulance owner.. I would love to be able to follow this money trail…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Next election all parties/teams will throw in some new faces, especially young Caymanian professionals (or not) bent on making money from political connections, based on the examples set.

    Mark and all the others don't care what they say as long as they get the votes to get in and or their cut and deals.


    Only solution is for Caymanians to demand OMOV then check all associations of candidates and pray that one with least connections, some grain of honesty will get elected to at least try to get rid of the corrupt mentality.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Shetty Hospital is going to increase the need for air ambulance service not decrease it. There are going to be patients coming in who can't survive back in row 28.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Typical politician..never knew a damn thing about health, gets into politics, becomes the minister of health, sees the opportunities and won't give his fellow Caymanians the opportunity at the time because he wants to keep it in his back pocket for when he is kicked to the curb..

    Bodden Towners, please make sure this one doesn't darken the door of the LA ever again

    Mark Scotalnd was always for himself and no one else..

  12. Anonymous says:

    So that is what Mr. Scotland was doing while he was a minister. Just preparing for this company insted of doing his job.

    Cost, no doubt will go up, because now there is a private company that needs to make profit for its shareholders.


    • Anon says:

      I don't much care what Mr. Scotland does, but do you think any air ambulance company transports patients without making a profit? They are all private companies and in business to make a profit. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    What other choices are available?  Is there healthy competition?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think if you ready careful there will be no competition as he has all of the hospitals tied up and are using at least one of them for personnel..Guesswhich Air ambulance come will get referred the most?

  14. Air Jambulance says:

    Looking forward to seeing how this venture works out. I was once a part of the overseas referrals process and I know first hand that having a jet on island would really speed up the process.

    But then again, I believe that it will still come down to the lowest cost, because it was standard for us to obtain air ambulance quotes prior to every transfer. If Mark's company doesn't offer competitive rates, and the patients insurance can't cover it, I believe a jet from oversea would still be sought.

    Now if his company arranges an exclusive contract with the H.S.A. then that's a different story.


  15. Anonymous says:

    No one in my opinion can replace Ms Madgies EXCELLENT service over the last years. She is most dedicated to her job. She has gotten so good that she is even good in diagnosing the patients problems. Dont worry Madge you will still get the most business as the people loves you.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is the same Mark Scotland that wouldn't give his own constituent the time of the day when he presented him some years ago with the "same" model to bring Air Ambulance service to Cayman.

    Karma is a bitch son…and time longer than rope…

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe he saw it as his alternative plan if he didn't get elected again? Man, Mark that was really low and I thought you had some honor left in you..Did you at least call the guy and tell him you were doing this?

      • Anonymous says:

        I'll bet he'll be calling him and many of his family members if he decides to run again…then again why do that when he has it made in the shade now…

        I am amazed at how many of these politicians get elected for one term and end up with the "cushiest" of jobs afterwards…Lower than a snakes belly, this one is.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good old Mark Scotland always hopping on his bike.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe it wasn't only Chuckie that took his papers with him when he left….Where is the Auditor General when you need him?

      • Anonymous says:

        It was never only Chuckie. Common practise. That Commission of Inquiry was a fiasco.

  17. Mitzie Tomlinson says:

    Mark i hope you will be better at this than when i call you for help with  Brian Tomlinson, Good  Lock .

    • Anonymous says:

      Mitzie, I seriiously don't think you will get any help from him or the rest of that Cartel.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Aliastair Swarbrick must be the best Auditor General the Cayman Islands has seen in years or past and present politicians worse nightmare….

  19. Anonymous says:

    What's wrong with you people. The elections are almost two years old. Mark is a free citizen and has just as much right as any other Caymanian to make a living and own a business.

    he offered himself for public office again and he was refused, as a Caymanian I'm happy that he has other options, and I'm happy that he has decided to provide a service that will improve the provision of health care in the Cayman Islands.

    im not sure that this is economically sustainable, but I hope it is. It shows that ex-politicians have a life after politics, some of you haters need to do the same.

    Oh, in regards to the other Caymanian pilot, did he have a plane based here and was he using existing professional staff from Chrissie Tomlinson , or was his just a dream?

    • Anonymous says:

      What:s wrong with you . Can you tell us why your service  that you are trying to provide is going to improve the provision of health care in Cayman .Have you seen that big wourld class Hospital on East end ?  or is it something else you have up your sleve .

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes it was his dream, go look for your yourself at 25 Dorcy Drive. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Not the matter of it being economically feasible, when somthing is done shoddy there is always a way of making it economically feasible, like the Shetty Hospital, there is no angle you can look at that venture and say that it is economically feasible, first it was to draw medical tourism from North America and perhaps europe, then the shout was it will draw medical tourism from the caribbean, my view of that is the main purpose of that hospital is to bilk the cayman islands government out of millions of dollars because now if a patient goes to the george town hospital with a gas pain in his chest or an anxiety attack that is causing discomfort in the chest, were do you think he is gonna be reffered to, what never fails to amaze me is how bold these people are with there crooked dealings and ideas and they get away with it, and it is always, always the Cayman Islands Government that ends up footing the bill, my poor country, tears come to my eyes when i look around and see how you are being raped hourly, may GOD help as all.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I hear Mark might be running on the PPM ticket next time with his good friend The Premier. LHM is there any discernible difference between the PPM, UDP and C4C camps ? I think not. Same dog puppy. Its the party system that MUST go next time Cayman.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hey, not only are they UDP buddies, they are CIFA buddies too.

  22. Cheese Face says:

    "political interference" Says it all really.

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is in direct competition with another young Caymanian pilot who recently started a similar service. I bet Mark Scotland will be on the campaign trail for 2017 calling for the protection of Caymanian businesses from foreign companies that use Caymanians to "front" for them ! Don't forget about this Cayman and Bodden Town in partcular !!! 

  24. Anonymous says:

    Yeah.., I really feel sorry that he didnt win a seat in the last election. He really meant well for the good of the country and was only looking out for OUR interests instead of his own.


    NOT!!! It is this type of UDP-affiliated trash that we DONT need in the LA anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hunny, don't you forget that PPM is no better. They just wayyyyy better at hiding what they REALLY do.


      • Anonymous says:

        If you know the PPM is guilty of corruption then you should report it to the Anti-Corruption. Either put up or shut up. I suspect you are just bluffing but I could be wrong.

  25. William Bodden says:

    RCIPS Anti Corruption Unit here I come..This is the same Minister of Health I contacted via emails and phone calls when he was in office reagarding my plans to do the same and to this date they have gone unanswered now this explain why.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is what is wrong with our country.  Old boys club, nepotism, familyism and greed.  Anyone remember how certain paving contracts went to a certain elected member's company.  Make connections rub shoulders with the right people etc.  

    • Air Jambulance says:

      Dude, an idea is a concept that exists in the mind only and you have practically no recourse if you decide to open your mouth about it to someone and they steal it.

      When the mobile carwash business boomed in Cayman a couple years ago and everyone and their sister had this business, did you see anyonegoing to court over a stolen idea? My advice to you is to proceed anyway if you have the means and compete with Mark and may the best company win. Simple.

      The RCIPS Anti-Corruption unit may listen to you grieve, but that's all they'll do. Mark was the health minister, he was exposed to more detailed information about this then you, so who's to say this idea existed in only your mind?

      I use to be a part of the overseas referral process and I saw the potential for a local based air ambulance too. Even the former HSA CEO Mike Brown tried to get it done, but was fired before he could make it happen. 'Your idea' is nothing new, so calm down.



      • Cayman resources says:

        You too need to read the Anti Corruption Law and you'll undestand its not about sealing of an idea, how silly can you sound.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Another case of a foreign company coming here and taking the opportunuty from locals ready to do it. The Caymanian partner sure benefits though. What happenned to the other startup from a local Cayman Airways pilot? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, the same foreign companies, like our one, who employ the same number of expats and Caymanians and the bright ones from both sides succeed, the dumb expats get fired..the dumb Caymanians are our tax, we are stuck with them. Sort that issue out and people will soon learn that dumb and lazy does not work, and then watch Cayman and Caymanians fly to the top of the employment pile. Do you think we really want to employ expats with all the shit we have to go through with work permits? Never mind the cost…wake up and smell the roses, you are in cuckoo land.

      • Anonymous says:

        No I think it is just laziness that you will not look for the hardworking Caymanians. They are there bug brooms and call all Caymanians uneducated and lazy. Insted you like expats that youcan take advantage of.

        • Anonymous says:

          If they are out there 20.29 they do not apply for the jobs. We recently had to go looking for Caymanians and steal them from other companies as no one applying had the correct (and appropriate) qualifications, and the two that did never showed up for interview (they "forgot"). If you want a job badly, you do not "forget" to go to a pre-arranged interview. No employer is going to take you on unless you really had an accident or health problem and could not go for that reason. Even then you let someone know…

          • Anonymous says:

            I know of a large company in cayman who demoted 5 caymanians ladies with 20+ years of service and brought in expats without qualifications. They reported the expat that had been promoted to the hiring position and it was ignored. So there is always multiple sides to the story. The problem is that a lot of the private companies find a poor caymanian worker and then brand every caymanian afterwards.


    • Anonymous says:

      That Caymanian need to have a foreign working for him and he would be up and long time now…being Caymanian will never get you anywhere

  27. Anonymous says:

    This is as XXXX as one can get.  Not only do you have a XXXX as director, you will now be utilizing an already over burdened HSA ambulance service and its personel to bring patients to the air ambulance.  Let's top that with a XXXX HSA ambulance director being directly involved with the air ambulance.  He can't organize and run a ground EMS system, now lets put him in a management position of an air ambulance. 

    Please do yourself a favor and investigate current EMS practices within HSA.

    Look at over time costs.

    Ask about people being on "sick" leave for  months/years while getting full pay.

    Ask about employees taking loads of paid sick time well above their alotted amount and yet they still get paid.

    Ask about the ambulance that are in horrid shape and not safe to drive the roads.

    Ask about industry equipment and training standards that are NOT in place but management finds time and money for overseas conferences. 

    Who is going to pay for HSA personel to bring these patients to the airport?

    Who will pay for the overtime to backfill the three 24/7 Ambulances.


  28. Anonymous says:

    Lets remember what party he represented UDP ok..the most XXXX political group of people Cayman has every seen.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope! You are wrong, the only f'd up part of the group was Mark, JonJOn, Rollie and Julie.

      Do not try to make this a UDP/PPM thing.

      • Anonymous says:

        They were the the few that finally did the right thing in the end even though they knew they would pay for it politically.

        • Anonymous says:

          Really now, listen to yourself and the hogwash you are spewing…Mark and that bunch never did anything that was right for their country or its people..that move to become the purple party was done out of pure preservation…Had they not done it they would have been out of a job a hell of a lot earlier and to our benefit.

      • Anonymous says:

        Were they elected as PNA or UDP? UDP..? ok, case closed.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I am sure he has read the law. Complying with it is a whole nother story. But hten we know that there are no penalties or accountablity for high ranking government officials and ministers nor are there any penalties. A law unto themselves.

  30. Anonymous says:

    So who are the 60% Caymanian owners?

  31. Anonymous says:

    His hands in everything huh.

  32. Anonymous says:

    The Ex Minister ought to take some time to read the Anti Corruption Law !!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Cayman pemier need to open his eyes and see this big new wourld class hospital on east end , and see that need for a air ambulance service is no longer needed like in the past . Please dont put the  Island in more debt , because he is my friend  .

  33. Anonymous says:

    Of course he was….