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Local rescue helicopters safe

19 January 2005

Local rescue helicopters safe

ACC Minister Ruth Dyson today gave an assurance that all communities will keep their locally-based rescue helicopter services.

“Some communities are concerned that the draft national air ambulance strategy released by ACC would threaten the viability of their local rescue helicopters. This has caused a huge amount of anxiety, and prevented appropriate debate from occurring.

“Having listened to what communities are saying, and to my Labour colleagues, I have decided to intervene in this process and have requested ACC to withdraw the strategy and call a halt to the submission process. ACC will continue to fund local rescue helicopters in the same way as they do at present. No services are at risk.” Ruth Dyson said she was committed to continuing to improve air ambulance services.

“The strategy released by ACC was intended to canvas a number of matters. However, the controversy over the location of the helicopters has prevented important public discussion about quality issues such as national coordination of services, appropriate standards for pilots and paramedics, equipment, response times, and the level and training of staff.

“By withdrawing the draft strategy, my aim is to create an environment where ACC can continue to work in partnership with stakeholders, communities and the government to provide the best possible air ambulance service throughout the country.”


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