HSE air service responds to 150 calls
The HSE emergency air ambulance responded to 96 life- saving calls in its first six months of operations and another 50 since the start of this year.
The pilot service, operated by the Air Corps in support of the HSE’s National Ambulance Service, was launched last June with a helicopter and crew based at Custume Barracks in Athlone.
All calls for the Emergency Aeromedical Service air ambulance are handled at the 24-hour National Aeromedical Co-ordination Centre based at Tullamore, Co Offaly.
Since the service was launched, the crews of Medevac 112 have responded to more than 150 calls. Irish Coast Guard helicopters have carried out a further 55 air ambulance missions in the same timeframe at the request of the co-ordination centre.
Most of these were done because Medevac 112 was on another call at the time or a patient needed to be winched from a location where a helicopter could not land.
Medevac 112 does not provide a winching service. Cardiac-related incidents, including heart attacks, accounted for 43 per cent of all calls while a further 17 per cent involved medical problems such as strokes, seizures and diabetic issues.
Medical director for the National Ambulance Service Dr Cathal O’Donnell said: “The helicopter can now get patients directly to whatever specialist centre they require. In the case of heart attack patients, almost every location in Ireland is within 90 minutes of a ‘stemi’ [ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarc-tion] unit. As a result, one-third more of patients are alive one year later after being admitted to a stemi unit within the 90-minute timeframe.”
Industrial and agricultural accidents and other trauma incidents account for 19 per cent of calls to date while 8 per cent of callouts have been to serious road traffic collisions. Some 6 per cent of missions were inter-hospital transfer calls.