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03 January 2012

Republic of Ireland set to get full time air ambulance

The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) is in negotiations to provide the Republic of Ireland with its own dedicated air ambulance.

It will be the first of it kind the country has had, having to currently rely on services from the the Air Corps and the Sea Rescue.

The two Government Lear jets, most often used to transport the Taoiseach (the Republic’s prime minister), the President and other ministers to official events, have also been used for medical evacuations at times of emergency.

Though these operators have come together to deliver the very best possible service that they can, they are not ideally suited to the task.

Chairman of the charity calling for a permanent air ambulance facility, Pat McCarthy, was very respectful of the service provided by all parties, but called for a standalone service to be created urgently:

“(They are) providing the best service where they can, but a dedicated Air Ambulance does save lives.”

This is proven throughout Europe and particularly with Ireland’s close neighbours in the UK. Here, an air ambulance is scrambled an average of every 10 minutes during daylight hours.

Medical studies also support the importance of the move, with experts estimating that four lives are lost annually because of the lack of an air ambulance. Moreover, it is also estimated that 16 people are left permanently disabled as a result too.

The negotiations are said to be at an advanced stage, with providers being questioned regards their plans and service delivery. With a deal expected at the start of 2012, things will hopefully take off soon.