The Custume Barracks-based air ambulance has completed 100 missions since the service began in June. That is according to local TD Denis Naughten who said that the frequency of call-outs clearly highlights the importance of this service to communities throughout the Midlands and west; it again highlights the need for the establishment of a national helicopter emergency service which could transport patients directly from the scene of an accident to a major trauma centre.
“While the operation of this service out of Athlone is a positive development, it is not a replacement for other ambulance services or the downgrading of services at hospitals - in fact just the opposite.
“Such a service can support smaller hospital facilities by ensuring that patients who would more appropriately be treated in major regional centres can access the specialist treatment in a timely manner”.
“Furthermore, a responsive ambulance service is needed, as it is the paramedic at the scene of the emergency that makes the call regarding the need to airlift a patient to hospital.
“It is intended to review the operation if the air ambulance service in the first half of 2013 and I hope that on foot of this, the service will be enhanced and hopefully expanded through the use of a second helicopter based at another suitable location,” concluded Deputy Naughten.