Air Ambulance will save rural lives - UFU

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed confirmation that an Air Ambulance service will soon be operating in Northern Ireland.

It says that as an organisation representing 11,500 farming families in rural areas across Northern Ireland it believes this will save lives in situations where there are poorer road networks and longer distances which are more susceptible to poor weather conditions.

“It will be a real boost for rural areas, being able to use an emergency helicopter service that is doctor and paramedic led as patients can be stabilised quickly on site and transported to the hospital best equipped to treat their injuries,” said UFU president, Barclay Bell.

He added that despite successes in changing attitudes, farming remained the highest risk occupation in Northern Ireland.

“When accidents happen on farms unfortunately they are all too often serious and can happen in areas which are often inaccessible to the normal ambulance service so this service will definitely save lives,” said the UFU president.

Mr Bell stressed that while the air ambulance service would be a high profile success for tackling serious incidents in rural areas, it must not detract from the current pressure on medical services in rural communities.