Pilot review confirms need for permanent air ambulance service

Dr James Reilly: has accepted the findings of the review of the pilot Emergency Aeromedical Service.

Dr James Reilly: has accepted the findings of the review of the pilot Emergency Aeromedical Service.

Tue, Dec 17, 2013, 01:00


A review of a pilot air ambulance scheme that began in June 2012 has confirmed the need for a permanent service in Ireland.

The Minister for Health has accepted the findings of a review of the pilot Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS) and a special group will meet soon to discuss the establishment of a permanent operation.

The pilot EAS, operated by the Air Corps in support of the HSE’s National Ambulance Service (NAS), was established following agreement between the Ministers for Health and Defence through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The trial operation began on June 4th, 2012 and has now been given a further three-
month extension while the Minister for Health, James Reilly, considers its future.

The purpose of the trial was to determine the level and type of dedicated EAS service, if any, might be needed in Ireland.

Due to end last June, the service has been extended twice already while a review was carried out by the Emergency Aeromedical Service Audit and Evaluation Group, comprising representatives from the Departments of Health and Defence, the National Ambulance Service and the Irish Air Corps.

The National Aeromedical Co-ordination Centre (NACC), a dedicated centre based in Tullamore, Co Offaly, handles all requests for EAS support.

The Department of Health has confirmed: “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 spokeswoman said.

To date, the EAS has responded to over 700 calls while the Irish Coast Guard has carried out more than 100 missions on its behalf because it was better placed to respond to the incident.

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