Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

New air ambulance in flying visit to Daisy Hill

The Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI) helicopter conducted a fly-past over Newry’s Daisy Hill hospital on Monday last, as part of familiarization procedures for the newly established service.

Helicopter crews conducted a number of flights and surveys at several hospitals including Daisy Hill, with the purpose of establishing routes and coordinates in preparation for the service which is expected to become operational later this month.

Newry businessman, Dr. Gerard O’Hare is a Trustee of the AANI charity and he has welcomed its introduction in the north.

“This is another important step in the establishment of HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) for Northern Ireland – the last area in these islands to have this service,” he said.

Describing how the service will function, he continued: “The operation will be a partnership with the Department of Health who will provide the doctors and medical resources, the NI Ambulance Service who will task the operations on a daily basis and the charity which will provide, maintain and fund the helicopters.”

Dr O’Hare also stated that in securing the Air Ambulance they had learned how the Mournes and South Armagh in particular were two of the most challenging locations in Northern Ireland for ground ambulance travel times.: “A round trip by ground ambulance to either of  these locations, given the topography of the Mournes and the road challenges of South Armagh, can take up to 1 hour 20 minutes to Daisy Hill, and the tasking of an Air Ambulance will be critical to saving lives in both these locations,” he said.

With annual running costs for the service expected to be in the region of £2m, Dr O’Hare says the charity will be heavily reliant on the generosity of local people.