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Press Release

Minister Simon Harris announces launch of new helicopter emergency service for Munster

Published: 14 June 2019
From: Department of Health

Service Level Agreement has been signed between the HSE and Irish Community Rapid Response for the launch of a new aeromedical service.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, announced today (Friday) that a new aeromedical service in the South will be launched in the coming weeks following the signing of a Service Level Agreement between the HSE and Irish Community Rapid Response.

Welcoming the news, Minister Harris said:

“I am delighted that a new aeromedical service in the South will commence shortly. I would like to thank the HSE National Ambulance Service and Irish Community Rapid Response for its commitment in developing this Service Level Agreement and ensuring the necessary clinical and corporate governance arrangements are such that the new service will be safe, robust and sustainable."
“The service will see the establishment of a charitably funded Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in the South, which will operate from Rathcoole Aerodrome, just northeast of Millstreet, County Cork. The service will complement the existing aeromedical services and improve aeromedical access to the South of Ireland."
“Its introduction is in accordance with the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to explore the feasibility of the expansion of air ambulance services, including the possibility of a second base. I am also pleased that this service will fulfill recommendations made by the National Trauma Steering Group in respect of improving aeromedical services in Ireland. Looking to the future, and adopting a whole system approach to care delivery, it is clear that the National Ambulance Service will be a key enabler of Sláintecare and, in that context, it is important that we support the development of aeromedical services which will improve service efficiency and effectiveness.”

Martin Dunne, Director of the National Ambulance Service added:

“I am delighted that this new initiative will now commence, and which will assist with the enhancement of patient care delivery in the South of Ireland. The National Ambulance Service is also looking forward to working in partnership with Irish Community Rapid Response on this very important initiative. This initiative, as part of the long-term evolution of the service will also play a part in the transition from an Emergency Medical Service to a Mobile Medical Service in the future. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all involved in getting this project to the stage we are now at today."

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