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Air Ambulance provision of vital importance – O’Neill

16 June, 2009 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin mid-Ulster MLA and deputy Chair of the Assembly Health Committee Michelle O’Neill has expressed her concern at reports in the media suggesting that the majority of funds raised for an Air Ambulance have been spent on administration costs.

Speaking from the Assembly this afternoon Ms O’Neill said;

“The need for air ambulance provision is becoming increasingly evident as more and more people are becoming increasingly concerned about the issue of emergency response times. This is becoming more important as the Health Minister implement’s plans to replace a number of Ambulances with Rapid Response Vehicles.

Many people, particularly those living in rural areas, are deeply concerned that there is not sufficient ambulance cover in many areas across the north.

The Sinn Féin reps on the Health Committee have made it clear that we support the need for a dedicated air ambulance service.

There is also a very clear rationale that this function on a cross border basis, serving the needs of people across Ireland but in particular in rural and border communities.

Reports in the media today suggest that the likelihood of an air ambulance in the north is decreasing, in particular there is concern around whether or not the monies raised by the ‘Ireland Air Ambulance’ charity was properly used to actually attain an air ambulance. Initial reports suggest that the overwhelming amount of the money was spent on wages and administration costs.

There will no doubt be a role for the new charities commissioner to look at this matter and I have no doubt that the Health Committee will want to investigate the issue further also.” CRÍOCH

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