Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (509)

Denis Naughten

Question:

509. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health to detail his plans to expand the role of the emergency aeromedical support service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12880/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Emergency Aeromedical Support Service (EAS) was a 12 month pilot project between the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and the Air Corps, with additional support from the Irish Coastguard Service where necessary. The service provided dedicated aeromedical support to the NAS in the west, specifically where land ambulance transit times would not be clinically appropriate. The EAS completed 368 missions in 2013, one third of which involved STEMI-type heart attack patients, who need time-critical transfers to primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention units for treatment.

An evaluation of the pilot found a clinical need for the service and that it should be established on a permanent basis. I accepted the review's findings and an inter-service working group is currently examining how best to implement the report's recommendations. In the interim, with the agreement of the Minister for Defence, aeromedical support by the Air Corps to the EAS will continue until June 2014, pending finalisation of the deliberations of the working group.