Air Ambulance NI hopes of 24-hour service as it celebrates 6th anniversary

The Air Ambulance has helped save many lives in Northern Ireland and as the service celebrates its sixth anniversary, there are hopes that it could become a 24-hour operation.

Paramedic Mike Patton has been a member of the team since its inception in 2017.

He explained the differences between what is available on an air ambulance versus a land vehicle.

"On board we get a consultant doctor, we get a paramedic and the pilot - so we can deliver interventions at the scene beyond what our colleagues in the road ambulances can.

"This level of critical care is provided between 7am and 7pm. After 7pm, that care is not there. So if a patient has their head injury at half-five at night, they will get a HEM service. They will get an anaesthetic if they need it.

"If they have that head injury at 9 o'clock at night, that service isn't there. They don't get it.

"So moving forward, we wish to extend later on into the evenings and hopefully 24-hour, just for equity of care, providing this service for 24 hours a day."

While health staff are employed by their relevant Trust, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland is funded by charitable donations.

It costs around £7,000 a day to run, equating to £2.5m per year.

The team are hopeful the support is there for the service's future and have great ambitions of being operational every hour of the day.

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