19 November 2019
By Bryan Smyth
Cork based Air Ambulance unaffected by support to Air Corps service
Irish Community Rapid Response’s back-up helicopter is to provide assistance to the country’s other Air Ambulance Service, in an agreement reached last week.
ICRR was contacted about the use of its relief helicopter and a pilot, to assist current challenges at the Air Corps run Athlone based service.
Under the agreement, with the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS), ICRR will provide its back-up helicopter and a pilot four days per month for the next four months, to help address training requirements.
ICRR’s Chief Operations Officer Lynda Stopford welcomed the opportunity to assist the Air Corps, and reassured communities in the South that this would not affect their new full-time service.
“The new emergency service and model in Cork is working very well and we are delighted to be able to provide our expertise to assist the Defence Forces. A separate agreement to provide this will be reached with the HSE.
The ICRR Air Ambulance service is based near Millstreet and commenced operations at the end of July. It services the South of the country and is set to be tasked 200 times in its first four months, ahead of a target of 500 call outs annually.
The ICRR Air Ambulance is run in partnership between the charity and the HSE NAS. NAS tasks the service through 112 / 999 calls to its National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and provides the medical crew. However, in the Cork service the helicopter, pilots, air-base and fuel are charity rather than State funded – similar to many other Air Ambulance services in the UK.
“Our service is working very well and being tasked every day. However, public support is critical to sustain it into the long-term, and we are appealing for strong public and corporate support,” Ms Stopford said.