Health Minister Robin Swann took time out of his busy schedule at Stormont to visit the operational base of Air Ambulance NI.
During the visit, the Minister was able to meet some of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) team members and hear about what the role involve and how they respond to emergencies.
Operational lead,Glenn O’Rorke, was one of those who met Minister Swann, saying: “A typical day starts at around 6.30am by bringing the helicopter out from the hanger onto the landing pad.
“If the team is not immediately tasked to an incident, a ‘briefing’ is lead by the Duty Pilot to take account of any impact on flying including weather, other aviation activity and calculation of weight on board the aircraft.”
The Air Ambulance needs £2m each year to keep the service in the air, relaying on public donations towards this vital resource.
Following the visit, Minister Swann said, “The HEMS is a critical and essential part of our pre-hospital care and it is reassuring to know that it is there for all of us and able to be airborne within minutes of a call coming in.
“Since coming into operation three years ago the team has responded to over 1600 call outs and I am very aware that behind each of these call outs is an individual and family.
“Like all our frontline services, Covid-19 has presented innumerable challenges over the past number of months but despite this the HEMS service is available and has seen no decrease in tasking figures.
“I would like to acknowledge and express my appreciation for all that HEMS team do.”