Written Answers. - Air Ambulance Services.

Beverley Flynn

Question:

249 Ms Cooper-Flynn asked the Minister for Defence the investment, if any, made in the air ambulance service provided by the Air Corps; and the plans, if any, for future investment in this regard. [1362/99]

Since 1965 an arrangement has been in place whereby the Air Corps provides air ambulance transport to health boards for emergency cases, utilising available aircraft. This service is generally provided in emergencies requiring the removal of badly injured or very ill persons over long distances, particularly where they cannot be safely conveyed by road ambulance. The service is also provided for the removal from the islands of persons requiring urgent hospital attention when weather conditions are such as to make boat transport impossible or hazardous to the patient.

Following the Government's consideration of the Price Waterhouse Review of the Air Corps and the Naval Service, a planning process is now in place to give effect to the Government's decision in the matter. In this regard the military authorities have been asked to prepare an implementation plan to give effect to the recommendations contained in the review. The question of any future investment in the air ambulance service will be addressed as part of this process.