To mark the end of National Air Ambulance Month, representatives from Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI) and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) welcomed Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride to the charity’s base in Lisburn.
The charity, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the region and responds to seriously ill or injured patients, seven days a week, for 12 hours a day.
The only service of its kind in Northern Ireland has seen the doctor and paramedic team deliver critical advanced pre hospital care to patients. From July 22, 2017, until present, the air ambulance has been tasked to 526 emergency missions across Northern Ireland, with 50 per cent of taskings being for road traffic collisions.
Speaking during his visit to the air ambulance base, Dr McBride said: “What has been achieved here to launch and embed this service since last summer is remarkable and serves as a great example of partnership working between the health service and our charity partners to enhance the services that we provide.
“This really comes down to saving and improving lives by bringing medical care directly to where it is needed and at speed – and hundreds of people have now benefited from this excellent service.
“I think the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Air Ambulance Northern Ireland ought to be congratulated for what has been achieved to date and after my visit today I am confident that they will continue to build on this in the years ahead.
Ian Crowe, Chairman of Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, said: “The Department of Health has played an important role in the success of our first year of operations and we were delighted to welcome Dr McBride to the home of Air Ambulance Northern Ireland.
“His visit is especially poignant as we approach the end of National Air Ambulance Month, a period where we’ve been recognising the hard work and dedication of all of those who have supported AANI during its first year.”
Dr Nigel Ruddell, Medical Director, NIAS, commented: “We want to use the visit as an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic news that our Operational Lead, paramedic Glenn O’Rorke, has been shortlisted in the Paramedic of the Year category for the National Association of Air Ambulance Awards.
“The service has only been in operation for 14 months, so this is a huge endorsement of the personal contribution Glenn has made to its establishment.”
From its base near Lisburn, the air ambulance can reach any part of Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes. Its primary role is to deliver advanced critical care, benefitting those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma, by bringing urgent medical assistance directly to the patient at the scene.
The charity requires £5,500 per day to keep this vital service going, meaning £2million must be raised each year. Over the course of the month of September, a series of fundraising events took place across Northern Ireland in a bid to help raise much needed funds for the air ambulance.