Dickson says question remains over air ambulance announced in Budget

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has said while the news of an air ambulance for Northern Ireland is welcome, there remains a question over where it will land.

The East Antrim MLA was speaking after Chancellor George Osborne committed £4 million to a local air ambulance service in today’s Budget. Northern Ireland is currently the only region of the UK which does not have such a helicopter emergency medical service.

But Mr Dickson said a number of question remained over the practicalities involved.

“Today’s news is certainly welcome and tribute to the late Dr John Hinds, who had long campaigned for this move.

“However, I would ask the Health Minister to clarify where exactly an air ambulance is supposed to land. As things stand, the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) does not use its helipad to receive medical cases. It would entail the helicopter landing at Musgrave Park Hospital, then the patient being transferred by traditional ambulance to the RVH.

“Along with an issue over where ongoing funding will come from, it is clear it is not just a simple matter but rather one in which more details are needed.”

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