01 March 2017
DUP Leader Rt Hon Arlene Foster has welcomed the news that approval has been granted for Northern Ireland’s first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).
Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and First Minister of Northern Ireland
She said, "This is wonderful news for Northern Ireland today and one which the trustees of Air Ambulance Northern Ireland should take great delight in. They are to be commended for the tireless work they committed to, to ensure that Northern Ireland had this important, life saving service.
Today's news follows on from the announcement I made in November, along with the then Deputy First Minister, that a primary helicopter would be based at the Maze Long Kesh site. I am delighted that a secondary helicopter will be based in my own constituency at St. Angelo Airport, which will ensure swift access to the most rural parts of Northern Ireland.
There is no doubt that the approval of the Doctor led, Air Ambulance as a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service will save lives and bring Northern Ireland into line with the medical treatment other parts of the UK have access to. It is a real boost to the Health Service in Northern Ireland who will partner with the Air Ambulance for Northern Ireland.
I met with Air Ambulance Northern Ireland trustees at the very start of their campaign and listened to their vision to see a service like this implemented here. I am delighted that it has now become a reality. It is down to the hard work of volunteers and campaigners and on this day we also remember Dr Hinds who would have been thrilled by today's announcement."