Belfast Telegraph

Our fitting tribute to campaigning doctor

Editor's Viewpoint

The death of Dr John Hinds, the motorcycle doctor who helped the casualties of road racing, was a great tragedy, but out of this has come a positive development which will be applauded by everyone.

The announcement that an aircraft supplier has been appointed to provide Northern Ireland's own air ambulance service is another welcome step in a long journey to provide swift help for injured or ill people who need urgent treatment.

When John Hinds died last year while providing cover for a road racing event, it highlighted the serious deficiency in an air ambulance service here.

It underlined that Northern Ireland was the only part of the United Kingdom without such a service.

This was simply an unsustainable situation. People here should not be put in a position of greater risk of death than others living in different parts of the country.

Dr Hinds spent a significant part of his professional life making this precise point, and it is sad as well as unfortunate that it seems to have taken his death before the proper authorities sat up and took notice.

It is a relief to know that this lack of a crucial service has been now rectified, and the further good news is that two helicopters will be used.

This means that there will be a 24-hour service all the year round.

The service will respond to trauma cases, but it will gradually expand to help patients with life-threatening conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.

The introduction of an air ambulance service will undoubtedly decrease significantly the time it takes to bring a patient to a centre for urgent treatment in the best possible facilities.

This will also help doctors and staff to meet their targets for the so-called 'golden hour'.

This is the first 60 minutes after a traumatic injury or the onset of a life-threatening illness when emergency treatment is likely to be most successful.

The introduction of the new air ambulance service in Northern Ireland is a fitting tribute to the memory of Dr John Hinds.

It also proves that the decision-makers here can produce the correct results when they put their minds and efforts into find the right way to do so.

This will be welcomed not only by the road racing fraternity but by everyone.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph