Health minister pledges £1m to assist Air Ambulance service
A £1 million funding boost has been announced for Northern Ireland’s air ambulance service.
The charity-run service has continued across the coronavirus pandemic and has experienced a 20% increase in taskings.
Health Minister Robin Swann said it has become a “critical component” of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service’s emergency response.
“Many people who have had life-changing injuries, and whose lives have been at risk following significant trauma, have benefited from the expertise of skilled clinicians who bring advanced critical care to the scene and rapidly transport their patient directly to the regional trauma centre for ongoing emergency care,” he said.
“I am grateful to those individuals and businesses who have continued to support this service through charitable donations.
“To date this has proved to be a successful and sustainable model delivered in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, but I also recognise the impact that the pandemic has had on the ability of our charity partner to raise funds in its customary manner.
“This £1 million payment will assist Air Ambulance NI with the challenges they are currently facing and assure the ongoing success of the funding partnership that delivers this valuable service.”
We're so grateful to @healthdpt who have announced a fantastic contribution that will help Air Ambulance NI's downturn in fundraised income due to the pandemic, alongside the increase in call outs for the medical team by almost 20%. Read more: https://t.co/HrZMi96bwu @NIAS999 pic.twitter.com/yZhxDgRzLn— @AirAmbulanceNI (@AirAmbulanceNI) March 24, 2021
Ray Foran, chair of Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, welcomed the funding.
He said it will help the service to deliver pre-hospital emergency care to those in most need.
“Air Ambulance NI has experienced an increase in taskings by almost 20%,” he said.
“We have continued to operate during these challenging times, supporting the Department of Health and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
“We would like to thank all our supporters for their continued and ongoing contribution.”
Air Ambulance NI is a charity that raises funds to sustain the aviation side of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service.