Team members at Stormont after handing in their HEMS4NI petition in Sept 2015.

Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, which was established following the death of long-standing HEMS campaigner Dr John Hinds, has finally been granted charitable status and it is now registered with the Northern Ireland Charity Commission.

This news follows on from the successful petition of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service for Northern Ireland (HEMS4NI) and the commitment from Health Minister Simon Hamilton to set up an integrated HEMS in Northern Ireland.

More than 70,000 people signed the petition, organised by the HEMS4NI campaign following the tragic death of Dr John Hinds (35) in July 2015. He was a strong advocate of using helicopters to speed the injured to hospital and a petition had been established supporting his call.

The charity has been established to meet the need of a fully integrated Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) throughout Northern Ireland.

Stephen Henderson, HEMS4NI, said: “Having now had the opportunity to meet with trustees from Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, steps are being made to make this a sustainable service for everyone in Northern Ireland.

“We welcome the Minster’s commitment to support this service and the establishment of the Northern Ireland Trauma Network. Air Ambulance Northern Ireland has been working on delivering a HEMS platform since 2014 and we will support the established charity moving forward.”