Thursday, 10 September 2020

Questions (236)

Denis Naughten


236. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if there has been an interruption to the air ambulance service based at Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath, to date in 2020; the number of missions tasked in each month to date in 2020; his plans to maintain the service during Covid-19 restrictions at Custume Barracks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23200/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS) based at Custume Barracks is a nationwide Helicopter Emergency Medical Service provided by the Irish Air Corps in conjunction with the National Ambulance Service (NAS) during daylight hours. The service is staffed by an Air Corps flight crew, an EMT and a NAS Advanced Paramedic.

The Air Corps was not in a position to accept EAS taskings from the National Ambulance Service for four days per month for a period of four months, from November 2019 to February 2020. During the days when the Air Corps did not accept taskings, the Irish Coast Guard provided reserve cover. Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR), provided additional cover using a second helicopter based in Roscommon Hospital, and was tasked to 112/999 calls in the usual way, by the National Emergency Operations Centre within the National Ambulance Service. This is in line with current National Ambulance Service priorities, whereby the most appropriate and safe services are provided for patients and staff.

On the question of the number of number of EAS missions tasked to date this year, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy, as soon as possible.