Pub­lic meet­ing on chop­per plan

Waihi Leader - - News - By ME­LANIE CAMOIN news@wai­hileader.co.nz

A team from the West­pac He­li­copter Trust will hold a pub­lic meet­ing in Waihi to­mor­row (Au­gust 24).

Spokes­woman for the Auck­land Res­cue He­li­copter Trust Ker­rie Spicer is com­ing to Waihi, along with two re­tired in­ten­sive care Auck­land paramedics to talk about res­cue he­li­copter ser­vices.

The meet­ing is or­gan­ised by Grey Power Waihi in the Bap­tist Church from 10am.

Ker­rie says the team will dis­cuss the role of the trust and its fu­ture.

“How we get our fund­ing, and how many mis­sions we have been part of,” she says. In March, the Min­istry of Health is­sued a Re­quest for Pro­pos­als (RFP) for air am­bu­lance op­er­a­tion ser­vices, out­lin­ing changes that could mean some res­cue he­li­copter bases — Whi­tianga, Ro­torua, Te Anau and Taupo¯ — would be dis­es­tab­lished.

The RFP re­quires the cur­rent seven North Is­land providers to be re­duced to two re­gions, with one in Auck­land/ North­land and one for the rest of the North Is­land.

Within this area, the RFP pro­poses he­li­copters bases in Hamil­ton, Tau­ranga, Gis­borne, Hawke’s Bay, Welling­ton, Palmer­ston North and New Ply­mouth.

An 8500-sig­na­ture pe­ti­tion call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to in­clude Whi­tianga and Coro­man­del res­cue he­li­copter ser­vices in the ten­der process was pre­sented by Coro­man­del Res­cue He­li­copter Trust mem­bers to Coro­man­del MP Scott Simp­son at Par­lia­ment late July. Mr Simp­son says the gov­ern­ment has failed Whi­tianga and Coro­man­del res­i­dents.

It will be sim­ply un­ac­cept­able to lo­cal res­i­dents and the hun­dreds of thou­sands of vis­i­tors to the Coro­man­del Penin­sula each year if ex­ist­ing ser­vices are way.’ re­duced in any SCOTT SIMP­SON Coro­man­del MP

“It will be sim­ply un­ac­cept­able to lo­cal res­i­dents and the hun­dreds of thou­sands of vis­i­tors to the Coro­man­del Penin­sula each year if ex­ist­ing ser­vices are re­duced in any way.

“It is dif­fi­cult to see how clin­i­cal out­comes can be im­proved if air am­bu­lances are dis­patched from fur­ther afield.

“Surely the Min­is­ter can ac­knowl­edge that the ex­tra time that it will take to travel the fur­ther dis­tance may be the dif­fer­ence between life and death for some pa­tients,” he said.

Chair of Grey Power Waihi Merv Lauder says the meet­ing is for the com­mu­nity.

“Ev­ery­one is in­vited to come and we will be bet­ter in­formed on what is hap­pen­ing,” he said.

Half the op­er­at­ing costs of he­li­copter ser­vices is met from the com­mu­nity. Fund­ing is made up of spon­sor­ship and do­na­tions from in­di­vid­ual mem­bers of the pub­lic, cor­po­rate donors and char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions.

■ Gold coin do­na­tions ap­pre­ci­ated.

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