Air ambulance helicopter at Custume Barracks carry out 120 missions since its launch

Local Fine Gael TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has been informed by the Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, that almost 120 life-saving missions have been carried out by the air ambulance helicopter since the launch of the service in the summer of 2012.

“Since the start of the Emergency Aeromedical Support (EAS ) service, the Air Corps helicopter based at Custume Barracks has completed more than a 1,000 missions [nationally], of which 68 were in Westmeath and 50 in Longford.

“Significantly, a large percentage of the taskings have been for STEMIs, a type of serious heart attack where a coronary artery is completely blocked; so the importance of putting this pilot service on a permanent footing cannot be understated,” said Deputy McFadden.

“While I am calling for the current review of this pilot service to be completed as soon as possible, I understand that plans are in place to retain this important air ambulance service. Defence Minister, Simon Coveney, said recently that a range of options are being considered to ensure a sustainable long-term service.

“Since the EAS’s launch, the service has operated seven days a week, responding quickly to emergencies in this region where patients needing rapid access to acute services in larger hospitals will be transported quickly to receive the appropriate medical care.”

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