‘Air ambulance can’t wait any longer’

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 12/10/2015: Dr Janet Acheson, the wife of Dr John Hinds, the travelling motorcycle race doctor who lost his life at Skerries, is pictured with seven year old Shaun McCann at Stormont today where a renewed appeal was made for an emergency medical helicopter service. Dr John had been involved in saving Shaun's life by helicopter after he had a fall at his Roscommon home in 2013.'PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 12/10/2015: Dr Janet Acheson, the wife of Dr John Hinds, the travelling motorcycle race doctor who lost his life at Skerries, is pictured with seven year old Shaun McCann at Stormont today where a renewed appeal was made for an emergency medical helicopter service. Dr John had been involved in saving Shaun's life by helicopter after he had a fall at his Roscommon home in 2013.'PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

The partner of road racing medic Dr John Hinds has said an air ambulance for Northern Ireland cannot wait any longer.

Speaking at an event in Stormont on Monday to promote the service, Doctor Janet Acheson said lives are “on the line”.

Dr Hinds was a close friend and associate of Lurgan GP Dr Fred McSorley and worked as a consultant at Craigavon Hospital.

Dr Acheson was speaking for the first time since the death of Dr Hinds in July. He was killed after his bike crashed when he was providing medical cover at a Skerries 100 practice session. He had been one of the ‘flying doctors’ of Irish road racing.

Dr Acheson said John’s dream was the establishment of a first-class, world-leading trauma network, with a doctor-led Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) at its core. She pointed out that what John did so well was not only bring people back from the brink of death but also ‘saving brains’, citing the example of seven-year-old Shaun McCann who was at the Stormont event. Shaun suffered a life threatening head injury in 2013 as a result of a fall. Dr Hinds volunteered to attend with the air ambulance paramedic to Shaun’s home.

She added, “Recognising the severity of Shaun’s head injury Doc John provided Shaun with a general anaesthetic and placed him in an induced coma to protect his brain. He provided mobile intensive care level support whilst Shaun was being flown to a hospital with the specialities necessary to deal with his injuries. As you can see today Shaun made a full recovery and two weeks ago welcomed his baby sister Alana to the family.”

She said NI’s HEMS should be funded in the long term by the government to give it stability, as it is in Scotland and Wales where it has been “a resounding success”.