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Hamilton launches consultation on a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service

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Health Minister, Simon Hamilton, today launched a public consultation on the development of a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).

The decision to invest in the development of both the Regional Trauma Network and a HEMS for Northern Ireland follows on from the Minister’s statement to the Assembly in September.

The Minister said: “I want to hear the public’s views about the key HEMS issues before making my final decision about how this important service should operate. I would therefore urge everyone with an interest in HEMS to respond with their views.

“As Health Minister I have had the opportunity to hear at first hand from clinicians, members of the public and their representatives who have given the campaign for a HEMS support and momentum to bring it to the current stage. In June of this year I also had the privilege of meeting the late Dr John Hinds, who worked passionately for the enhancement of our major trauma services and the introduction of a HEMS so that more lives can be saved. The fact that over 80,000 people recently signed a petition backing the campaign is a testament to the efforts of all involved, and to the strength of support for making their vision a reality.

“I share their belief that a HEMS will help to save lives. In particular, it will enhance the excellent services that our trauma clinicians, nurses, paramedics and support staff currently provide.”

The consultation will invite discussion from the public and key stakeholders on:

  • how the HEMS should be managed and funded;
  • how it should be staffed;
  • the main patient groups it should serve; and
  • the most suitable home base location.

The consultation will run from 23rd November 2015 until 22nd January 2016 alongside a series of public meetings.

Public meetings will be held at:

  • Ballymena: Adair Arms Hotel, 30th November 2015, 7:00-9:00pm
  • Belfast: Stormont Hotel 2nd December 2015, 7:00-9:00pm
  • Londonderry: City Hotel, 6th January 2016, 7:00-9:00pm
  • Irvinestown: Manor House Hotel, 11th January 2016, 7:00-9:00pm

The Minister added: “I am of the view that HEMS is a necessary service development which will help to strengthen our emergency services. I am also pleased with the first steps being taken by Health and Social Care organisations to establish the Northern Ireland Trauma Network over the next 12 months. This is key in strengthening our trauma and medical emergency response services to be followed by the introduction of the HEMS.”

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