Commencement of Community Air Ambulance Service based in Co.Cork rests with Minister

The decision on when the Air Ambulance Service, located in Co. Cork, will go live rests with the Minister of Health.

Minister Harris holds final responsibility to make this decision, based on recommendations he receives from the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) and the Department of Health.

The Air Ambulance project comprises a partnership approach to both funding and service delivery between Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR), the HSE NAS and the Department of Health.

ICRR is satisfied that the requirements and specifications, which the charity has been tasked with, are in place.

ICRR’s responsibility is to provide and fund the air base, the pilots, engineers and ground staff. The HSE NAS is providing the paramedical staff and integrating the service with the other emergency health services. The Department of Health is providing policy and service oversight.

ICRR confirms that it has completed the following:

  • Signed a detailed Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the other partners
  • A dedicated air base has been built in Rathcoole, Millstreet, Co. Cork which complies with health and safety and fire safety requirements
  • The helicopter is in situ at the air base and service ready
  • All Irish Aviation Authority licences are in place
  • The pilots, engineers and ground staff are trained and in situ
  • A work rota has been agreed for staff.

Other parts of the project which are also in place include:

  • Training of the paramedical staff, in accordance with aviation guidelines, has been completed
  • Details of how the service will integrate with the National Emergency Operations Centre 112/999 service, and the Athlone based Aeromedical service, have been discussed and agreed.

In the past year ICRR has spent in excess of €50,000 on paramedic training, which was delivered last year together with the HSE NAS. €400,000 has been invested in the Air Ambulance base facilities. The charity is currently incurring staff payroll costs while awaiting the service going live.

ICRR is grateful to the public for its ongoing over-whelming support for the service and urges the announcement of an imminent start date.

Existing Air Ambulance Services have been proven to save lives both in Ireland and abroad and this is why getting the service into operation is imperative, as delays could cost lives.

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