Irelands need for a permanent Air Ambulance
A trial air ambulance scheme operated by Air Corps has received an extension of three months on it’s contract after reviews that Ireland needs a permanent service. Originally set up in June 2012 as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministers of Health and Defence, it is now under review as a permanent operation.
It was created in support of the HSE’s National Ambulance Service and the purpose of the trial was to establish the level and type of service needed. This is the schemes third extension as prior reviews by the Emergency Aeromedical Service Audit and Evaluation Group were carried out. These were made up of representatives from the Irish Air Corps, the National Ambulance Service and the Department of Health and Defence. Tullamore is the base for The National Aeromedical Co-ordination Centre and deals with an communications for EAS support.
A spokesperson from the Department of Health says “The review of the pilot EAS service has now been completed. The review demonstrated a clinical need for the service and recommended that the Minister consider how best to provide a dedicated service in the target area, with a particular emphasis on the west of Ireland. The Minister has accepted the review’s findings, including the establishment of an inter-service working group to examine, among other things, options for the permanent establishment of an EAS service and the potential for expansion of service coverage, including an all-Ireland approach,”.
The Minister has also been in discussions with Northern Ireland’s Minister of Health Edwin Poots.
“We were examining how we might extend the service through the addition of a helicopter service in the north of Ireland,” he explained. Mr Reilly explained how the service “could extend into the northern regions of the country and allow our air ambulance service extend further south so that we have an all-island approach.” Should the scheme succeed “we can give everybody that guarantee that if they have got a major life-threatening event they are going to get seen, for instance if they have a heart attack, they will be able to get somewhere where they can have a stent done within 90 minutes everywhere in the country.”
Mr Reilly further stipulated “There is massive opportunity here, and of course both Minister Poots and I are acutely aware of the fact that there are several different funds available from Europe around cross border innovative approaches to healthcare,”