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Public will have say on plan for and NI air ambulance

By Chris McCullough

Published 24/11/2015

Dr John Hinds
Dr John Hinds

The public is to have its say on an air ambulance for Northern Ireland, the Health Minister has announced.

Four public meetings have been set up in Ballymena, Belfast, Irvinestown and Londonderry to help DUP Minister Simon Hamilton make up his mind about how a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) could run.

The partner and family of the late Dr John Hinds, who campaigned for such a service before his untimely death, have welcomed the news and are looking forward to participating in the consultation.

A spokesman for the family said: "Dr Janet Acheson, who is the partner of the late Dr John Hinds, together with his family and a number of key medics, have already met with Department of Health officials to discuss the provision of a HEMS in Northern Ireland. They are very much looking forward to taking part in the consultation process."

The minister launched the public consultation on the development of an air ambulance service on Monday.

"The fact that over 80,000 people recently signed a petition backing the campaign is a testament to the efforts of all involved, and to the strength of support for making their vision a reality.

"I share their belief that a HEMS will help to save lives. In particular, it will enhance the excellent services that our trauma clinicians, nurses, paramedics and support staff currently provide," he said.

The public meetings will be held at: Ballymena, Adair Arms Hotel, November 30, 7pm; Belfast, Stormont Hotel, December 2, 7pm; Londonderry, City Hotel, January 6, 2016, 7pm and Irvinestown, Manor House Hotel, January 11, 7pm.

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