Sloane Helicopters has signed a contract with Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR), a charity dedicated to pre-hospital care, to provide an air ambulance helicopter, the company announced on 11 June.
The helicopter will be operated by ICRR and is due in Ireland at the end of July, with the air ambulance service expected to begin in August.
The ICRR Air Ambulance, will be based at Cork Airport and bring a 10,000 square mile area within 20 minutes of critical care.
The Air Ambulance is a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) which will be tasked through the 999 / 112 call system operated by the National Ambulance Service at its National Emergency Operations Centre and is being supported by the HSE and Department of Health.
The service will include medical crew who can provide life-saving treatment to those who are seriously ill or injured, along with rapid transport to a critical care facility.
Medical care and swift transport within the ‘Golden Hour’ – the time in which medical interventions have the greatest impact on saving the life of someone critically ill or injured – greatly increases the chance of survival.
ICRR CEO John Kearney said that this development will see ICRR’s successful land service take to the air.
“Since 2008, ICRR has developed a network of over 200 volunteer doctors throughout Ireland who can be called on to deliver critical medical interventions which prevent serious injury or death.
“We have ten Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) in operation to deliver a ‘land’ emergency service. The land service is also tasked through the 999 / 112 call system.
“ICRR is now taking to the air. The Air Ambulance service will mirror successful models across the UK and continental Europe where geographically challenging terrain warrants an air response.
“It will complement existing emergency services including the Athlone based Emergency Aeromedical Service operated by the National Ambulance Service and Irish Air Corps.
“It is hoped that €2million can be raised per annum to fund the service. The people of Ireland have sustained our land based rapid response Volunteer Doctors over 10 years and now we’re calling on the public to support this new life saving air service.”
Jeremy Awenat, Sloane’s Managing Director, said: “As we approach our 20th year as an established HEMS operator, we are delighted and proud to have been selected by ICRR to provide EMS helicopter services in Ireland and very much look forward to developing a close partnership with the Charity. For over 23 years as the sole Leonardo distributor in Ireland and the UK, as well as being an Authorised Service Centre, Sloane Helicopters has provided helicopter in country support for its many Irish customers and sees this scope expanding over coming years.”
The community Air Ambulance service is expected to respond up to 500 calls per year. Some of the serious incidents it is expected to respond to include:
- Retrieval & Transfer: The airlift of a seriously ill patient from remote and rural medical hubs / accident scenes to appropriate specialist hospital care.
- Trauma: Injuries sustained in road traffic accidents, equestrian, agricultural, industrial and sporting incidents, falls and impact injuries.
- Medical: Including cardiac medical events, Strokes, Anaphylaxis, etc.