AFTER years of campaigning, the Air Ambulance service has been officially launched and is now fully operational.
The back-up air ambulance is based at St Angelo Airport, Enniskillen while the primary helicopter is based at the former Maze Prison site in Antrim. The service will be doctor led and able to reach any part of the North within 25 minutes, operating seven days a week for up to 12 hours a day during daylight.
The official launch marks the end of a 12 year campaign to have the service put in operation and within minutes of the launch, the Air Ambulance was dispatched to an emergency call.
Local trustee of the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance, Rodney Connor says the new service will give the people of Northern Ireland and bordering Counties the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) which campaigners have been striving to establish for many years.
“The importance of getting medical aid to someone in need and then getting that patient to the nearest trauma centre and specialist clinical care as quickly as possible is now recognised by all especially those of us who live in rural areas some distance from the trauma centres. The Clinicians tell us that each year our new HEMS will save up to 30 lives and that there will be an improved outcome for up to 300 people,” said Mr Connor.
The Air Ambulance was given the go ahead in March, and will be staffed on a rota basis of six paramedics, a team of 15 doctors and two pilots.
Previously, the North was the only area in the UK without such a vital service, which will cost around £2 million a year to run.
Mr Connor continued: “The service will be tasked by Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Air Ambulance NI will have the responsibility of raising some £2 million each year to meet the costs of providing this essential service.
“The help and support given already by the people of Fermanagh has been absolutely fantastic. Without this support we would not have had this successful outcome and all their help is very much appreciated.”
Posted: 9:56 am August 13, 2017
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