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Arlene Foster reveals £2.2m a year cost of air ambulance helicopter

By Michael McHugh

An air ambulance for Northern Ireland could cost £2.2m a year and would operate from an airport in Co Fermanagh, campaigners have said.

Trustees of Air Ambulance Northern Ireland Ltd said positive discussions have recently taken place with Health Minister Simon Hamilton.

They hope to establish a charity to complement the work of the NI Ambulance Service.

Dr John Hinds was a keen supporter of a doctor-led helicopter ambulance and members of his family have vowed to continue his campaign.

The trustees said: "We trust by working together this vital tool in emergency care will be able to become a reality for people living in Northern Ireland.

"The trustees are very committed to the establishment of an air ambulance service that will be tasked by and complement the excellent service provided by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service."

It would operate throughout Northern Ireland and be based at St Angelo airfield near Enniskillen.

DUP MLA for the area Arlene Foster said: "Throughout the UK this valuable service is widely available, with 26 air ambulances serving mainland GB. However, we have none in Northern Ireland.

"This needs to change.

"It is estimated that such a service could cost in the region of £2.2m per year.

"At the meeting we explored the various funding options that are available and the cocktail for funding which will be required."

Belfast Telegraph


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