[26 August/The Country]

The first announcement around the current tender for national air ambulance services is expected in late September. The announcement would be in relation to Rotorua’s BayTrust Rescue Helicopter. This was the first step towards a 10 year modernisation programme for air ambulances. The process had moved into formal negotiations with preferred tenderers. They remained confidential until the results were announced. The negotiations were to ensure the new services would deliver a nationwide service for all New Zealanders and be more integrated with the road ambulance and hospital services. Rotorua and Taupo residents fought to have their local helicopter services included in the process. Manager Community and Ambulance at the Ministry for Health, Andy Inder, said air ambulance services were more than a transport service.  The final providers for each region would be announced as the negotiations are concluded.