New air ambulances for the South

Health Minister David Clark says two new air ambulances for the southern region are the latest addition to what is fast becoming a world class aeromedical service for New Zealand.

“Air ambulances are a critical life-saving service and one that requires sustained investment. That’s why we invested an extra $82.9 million over four years in these services in our first Budget,” David Clark said.

“These new Airbus H145 air ambulances are part of the Government’s modernisation programme to make our country’s air ambulance services safer, better and focused on people’s needs,” David Clark said.

“I’m thrilled that Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand (HEMS) has invested in these state-of-the-art $15m air ambulances to add to their fleet, which are the first of their kind here.

“They’ll start service tomorrow with one based in Christchurch and one in Dunedin. They perform pre-hospital retrieval and inter-hospital transfer duties for medical and injury services across the Southern region. That spans the entire South Island as well as Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands and the Auckland Islands.

“These air ambulances will provide rapid access to specialised health services, which is especially valuable for people in rural and remote communities. They help to ensure fair access to health services by all New Zealanders, no matter where they live and no matter who they are.

“I’m also pleased that HEMS and the National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO) have signed a four-year contract to provide these services to 2022, which concludes phase one of the procurement process with contracts now in place across all three regions,” David Clark said.