The fact that the new air ambulance service based in County Cork has already responded to 45 emergencies in its first thirty days of operation clearly justifies the need for the establishment of the service to take pressure off the air ambulance based in Athlone, according to Denis Naughten TD.
Denis Naughten had a commitment to establish a second air ambulance covering the southern part of the country included in the Programme for Government and again secured its incorporation into the Department of Health’s Plan for the reform of trauma services across the country.
In welcoming the formal launch of the second air ambulance service by An Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD, Denis Naughten commented, "up to now Ireland only had one dedicated air ambulance based at Custume Barracks in Athlone, and the development of a second air ambulance at Rathcool, near Millstreet in County Cork allows the Athlone based service to respond to more emergencies in the Midlands and West of Ireland.”
Deputy Naughten, who has been campaigning for an air ambulance service for over a decade, continued, "since the current service was launched in 2012, the air ambulance in Athlone has saved countless lives. Now with a second air ambulance coming on stream, the dedicated team from the Air Corps and National Ambulance Service advance paramedics in Athlone are in a position to respond to many more emergencies across the northern half of the country.”
The new air Ambulance service is staffed by two medics and a pilot who are tasked by the 112/999 National Ambulance Service Call Centre to emergencies.
“The development of the second air ambulance, which is operated by the charity Irish Community Rapid Response, has been a priority for me as it ensures a better emergency service throughout the country with the two air ambulances being supported by the Coast Guard helicopters based in Sligo, Shannon, Waterford and Dublin.
“This now provides excellent air ambulance cover across Ireland, ensures that ground-based ambulances are not tied up travelling long distances with emergencies and will be of particular benefit to people in rural communities who have to travel well over an hour by road to access major trauma units in an emergency,” Denis Naughten concluded.