Air ambulance idea welcomed

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‘Positive news’ is how DUP MLA Sydney Anderson described news from the Health Minister Simon Hamilton, that he was committed to a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in Northern Ireland

Such a move, he claimed would be part of recent efforts to transform major trauma services across the province.

“This announcement is positive news and is a significant step in efforts to establish an air ambulance service across the country which ultimately will help to save lives,” he said. “The recent loss of Dr John Hinds was a real tragedy that has heightened interest in guaranteeing air ambulance provision for Northern Ireland.

“John’s vision was to see Northern Ireland having access to an air ambulance.

“It is now hoped that something can be brought forward in his memory which is of real need to our people.”

Mr Anderson, urged people to take part in the public consultation.

“The financial costs of setting up a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service are approximately £2.4 million for initial infrastructure and subsequently £1.8m for annual recurring operating costs,” said Mr Anderson.

“It is now vital that we establish if it is possible to secure robust and consistent charitable funding for this service.

“As such it is good to see recent moves by potential charitable sources which could possibly raise funds and offer other support.

“Hopefully, as we move forward these funding avenues will produce results and lead to the establishment of an air ambulance service for all our people.

“The Minister, committed to bringing forward a public consultation on this issue by the end of September.

“I would encourage anyone who is interested to participate. I will be monitoring the situation closely in the coming weeks and I am fully committed to working with all.”