Air ambulances and organ transplants


Sir, – Further to “All organ transplant options for children very costly” (News, November 13th), the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) reports that from 2012 until 2016, 23 out of 24 “Priority 1” transfers were carried out by the Air Corps. Since 2016 to date, four out of 17 transfers have been conducted by the Air Corps, with the bulk of the work being undertaken by Irish Coast Guard helicopters.

The Air Corps has in recent years had significant staffing shortages in key technical areas – pilots, air traffic controllers and aircraft technicians. This has happened because of an inability of the State to retain highly trained personnel in the face of far better terms and conditions in the private sector.

This will continue to be a problem in the coming years as the Air Corps continues to lose experienced personnel who cannot be instantly replaced by new recruits. When properly resourced the Air Corps can respond to any request to move sick patients to the UK for vital transplant surgery within the time frames laid down by the HSE.

The men and women of the Air Corps pride themselves on being able to provide the people of this State with a cost effective, efficient and relevant public service. – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

Sir, – Finding the most cost-efficient air ambulance service makes sense.

Every euro not squandered means a euro that can be devoted to healthcare priorities. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir,– I see that the HSE has contracted a UK air ambulance service to bring urgent organ transplant patients to the UK.

I also see some very fancy, VAT-exempt, tax-deductible private jets snugly holed up in their hangars. Wouldn’t it not be nice if some of them were occasionally made available for these mercy missions? – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.