Hopes rise for new air ambulance

Sydney Anderson
Sydney Anderson

Progress made in establishing an Air Ambulance to serve in Northern Ireland has been welcomed by local MLA Sydney Anderson.

Mr Anderson stated, “I am aware that my party colleague, Arlene Foster MLA, met recently with the trustees of Air Ambulance NI Ltd to discuss the way forward in terms of air ambulance provision for Northern Ireland. Notably, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland Limited has now been incorporated and is applying to the Northern Ireland Charity Commission for registration. Positive discussions also took place recently between Air Ambulance NI Ltd and Health Minister Simon Hamilton regarding Air Ambulance provision.

“Ultimately, it is telling to learn that, at this moment in time, there are 26 Air Ambulances serving on the mainland United Kingdom, yet there is no Air Ambulance provision available in Northern Ireland. This must change as soon as possible because an Air Ambulance is greatly needed for service to the people of Northern Ireland.”

He went on: “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 and it is now hoped that something can be brought forward in his memory which is of real need to our people.”

It is believed that such a service would cost in and around £2.2 million per year to maintain. At the recent meeting with Mrs Foster, Air Ambulance NI Ltd were able to discuss the range of funding options that are available and it is hoped an Air Ambulance service will soon be in operation from St Angelo Airport, Enniskillen to serve all of Northern Ireland.