21 SEP 2017
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Over 40 per cent of air ambulance call outs have been in Co Down

13 September 2017 - by brian@newryreporter.com

The national air ambulance has attended 19 incidents in Co Down since it first went operational seven weeks ago.

Air Ambulance NI (AANI) was launched at the beginning of August and enables emergency paramedics to reach any part of the north within 25 minutes.

Since launching, it has been deployed almost 50 times and was in action again at the weekend when it flew a nine-year-old boy to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital after he was struck by a car in Ballymena.

However, over 40 per cent of the air ambulance’s call outs to date have been to incidents in Co Down, including its first ever mission in which an 11-year-old boy from Castlewellan was injured in a tractor incident.

The doctor and paramedic team were on site within minutes and able to treat and stabilise the victim at the scene, before flying him to Belfast in a journey lasting eight minutes. 

AANI Trustee, Dr Gerard O’Hare, said: “During this short time the service has already been tasked 47 times, including 19 times locally in County Down.  

“We’ve also found that so far, 77 per cent of the incidents have been in rural areas. Road traffic collisions make up 72 per cent of what we have attended, with other missions to agricultural, industrial and sports accidents.”

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) is based at the Maze/Long Kesh near Lisburn and is the culmination of a 12-year campaign backed by the public and driven by key individuals.

The new doctor/paramedic led service will be of most benefit to those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma.


£2,000,000 needed


AANI will also be responsible for raising £2m annually to sustain the helicopter operations that the charity has contracted from Babcock MCS Onshore.

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising, said: “Whilst no one wants to ever need the helicopter service, it’s great that it’s here and improving long-term outcomes for those suffering serious injury.  

“Any one of us might need it, so it’s vital we keep the service going. The challenge is to raise the £2m to keep it here. That’s why we’re encouraging workplaces to have coffee mornings; community groups to hold events; and individuals to make a donation or volunteer.  

“Whatever you can do will help. Let’s all get behind this fantastic service to keep it here for good.”

Donations can be made on-line at www.airambulanceni.org and you can call the charity on 028 9262 2677 or email info@airambulanceni.org.

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