The air ambulance service is vital for the west of Ireland, providing support for patients where ambulance times by road are longer, and it is now essential the service be made permanent.
This is the view of Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne, who said that while he welcomes yesterday's pledge by Health Minister, Leo Varadkar, and Defence Minister, Simon Coveney, to continue the air ambulance service, the Government should provide funding to establish this service on a permanent basis, as it is "particularly vital for the west".
"While the investment of €5.4 million in this year's health budget for 50 new paramedics in the west and northwest and the development of community to first responders have been hugely welcome," said Dep Kyne, "the geography of the west and the remoteness of some communities means the Emergency Aeromedical Support Service is vital. Through the service, specialised emergency treatment can be provided to patients quickly while also providing speedy transport to acute hospitals."
The service has been operating on a pilot basis as a joint project of the National Ambulance Service and the Air Corps, and the Emergency Aeromedical Support Service. "The Emergency Aeromedical Support Service has proved to be a vital service," said Dep Kyne, "in supporting the National Ambulance Service to reach patients experiencing critical illnesses such as cardiac arrest and strokes".
A working group involving the departments of health and defence and the HSE has examined the service and has recommended that it be established on a permanent basis.