Ireland’s community air ambulance will not be doctor led

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ICRR helicopter. Credit: ICRR

Ireland’s first community air ambulance service will not be a doctor-led service, according to findings from the Irish Examiner.

The service, named Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) is set to launch within the next month, but will be led by an advanced paramedic and an emergency medical technician.

Founder John Kearney confirmed the decision to the Irish Examiner on 19 September, also adding that the service would now be based at an airfield north of Cork – not at Cork Airport as previously stated.

Kearny was disappointed that the service would not be able to deliver seven-days-a-week care at its launch: “Ultimately, that’s where we’d like to get to but we are aware of the shortage of doctors in the health system and we don’t want to take them away from the frontline. Hopefully, as this service builds, we will get to that point. But let’s get it up and running, and we’ll build on that.”

The service was given the greenlight in July when, after a fundraising drive, it was able to sign a deal with Sloane Helicopters to provide aircraft.

From its base in Rathcoole Aerodrome, the service will be able to reach patients within a 10,000-sq mile area within half an hour, and will complement the existing emergency services, said ICRR. It is supported by the Department of Health and HSE and will be tasked by 999 or 112 emergency calls. The service expects to respond to around 500 call-outs a year.

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