Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI) recently celebrated the six-month anniversary of its inaugural rescue mission, when the air ambulance first took to the sky in July 2017.

AANI, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the region. Since July of last year until the end of January 2018, the air ambulance has been tasked to 222 emergency missions across Northern Ireland – an average of one rescue mission per day. 60 per cent of the call outs were for road traffic collisions, 14 percent for falls and the remainder were for traumatic injuries and a variety of incidents including drowning, burns and explosions.

One of the road traffic collisions involved Shaun Attwood who was air lifted after he was involved a head-on collision near Newcastle in August 2017 and sustained various serious injuries. Due to the rapid medical attention he received from the doctor and paramedic team, Shaun is making a speedy recovery with ongoing physiotherapy.

Recalling what happened that day, Shaun said, “The helicopter was on site within 8-10 minutes and I know that without the services of the air ambulance and the medical team, I just wouldn’t have recovered as well as I have. I’m so grateful and would encourage people to do what they can to support AANI, a fantastic charity.”

AANI, in partnership with NIAS, provides a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) and responds to severely ill or injured patients, seven days a week, 12 hours a day and from its base in Lisburn it can reach any part of Northern Ireland in thirty minutes. The service’s primary role is to deliver advanced critical care, benefitting those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma by bringing urgent medical assistance directly to the patient at the scene. Most of the responses to incidents are by air in the helicopter HeliMed23, but the HEMS team also has a rapid response car, Delta 7, for times when the helicopter isn’t able to fly or the incident is in close proximity.

Clinical lead, Dr Darren Monaghan explains the role of the Air Ambulance service, “The helicopter allows us to deploy on scene in a matter of minutes so we can deliver advanced care, pre-hospital anaesthesia and chest interventions. The faster we can get to the patient from the time of the injury, the better their long-term outcome, and that’s one of the major benefits of this service.

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising for Air Ambulance NI, said, “To ensure the service is sustained, we need to raise £2 million each year so public support is crucial. In recognition of our six-month anniversary, we’ve launched a unique opportunity for people to join the charity by becoming a member of Club AANI.  For a weekly donation of just £2, Club AANI members will receive free branded goodies, on-going discounts from high street retail brands, as well as flash merchandise offers, and an invitation to our annual members event. It’s a simple way to donate and we hope those who can join will do so.”

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