Air ambulance upgrade a plus for SC

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STAFF REPORTER

South Canterbury may benefit from the flow-on effects of upgraded air ambulance services in the South Island.

From November 1, there will be a round-the-clock air ambulance service, with dedicated clinical crew, in Christchurch and Dunedin.

Ministry of Health community and ambulance manager Andrew Inder said the changes occurring next month would either improve or continue the current response times across New Zealand.

While South Canterbury callouts were generally responded to by the Christchurch base, Dunedin was also “well-positioned” to respond, Mr Inder said.

Next year, the new service provider, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand Ltd (HEMS), will buy twin-engine helicopters for the Christchurch and Dunedin bases.

The service upgrade, announced on Wednesday last week, was the third and final agreement by the Ministry of Health regarding air ambulance services.