Dáil Éireann - Volume 616 - 07 March, 2006
Written Answers. - Ambulance Service.
Mr. Connolly Mr. Connolly
179. Mr. Connolly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position with regard to the provision of an air ambulance service for the entire country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8865/06]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney:A consultancy study jointly commissioned by my Department and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Belfast — DHSSPS — on the costs and benefits associated with the introduction of a dedicated helicopter emergency medical service for the island of Ireland, was published last year and is available on my Department’s website. The study concluded that the introduction of a dedicated inter-hospital air ambulance service would be appropriate in an all-island context.
In considering the report, the DHSSPS advised that its priority at present is the need for further investment to improve the ground ambulance service.
On foot of the report my Department had detailed discussions with the Department of Defence regarding the future provision of air ambulance services by the Air Corps. Arising from these discussions, a detailed service level agreement has been prepared and signed. The signatories to the agreement are the Department of Defence, the Department of Health and Children, the Health Service Executive, the Defence Forces and the Air Corps.
The agreement sets out the range services to be provided by the Air Corps, specifically, as follows: inter-hospital transfer for spinal and serious injury and illness; air transport of neonates requiring immediate medical intervention in Ireland; air transport of patients requiring emergency organ transplant in the UK; air transport of organ harvest teams within Ireland; and air transport of patients from offshore islands to mainland hospitals where the coastguard service is not available.
A steering group comprising representation from each of the signatories to the service level agreement has been established. The group will monitor the operation of the agreement and will amend, if necessary, the provisions of the agreement to take account of service developments, including the new fleet replacement programme currently being put in place by the Air Corps.
Dáil Éireann 616 Written Answers. Ambulance Service.