Above: Michael Martin TD; Pilot Cpt Jamie McKenzie and Irish Community Air Ambulance CEO John Kearney pictured in Cork at the announcement that €1 million funding is being sought for a new Air Ambulance Service for Munster, which will be officially launched later this year. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
€1m in funding is being sought for a new Air Ambulance Service for Munster, which will be officially launched later this year. Operating out of Cork Airport, the distinct red-coloured helicopter is a mobile intensive care unit, which is staffed by a team of highly qualified and specially trained trauma doctors who can be on site in the fastest time possible.
Irish Community Air Ambulance (ICAA), which hopes to raise the €1m over the coming months, says the service will complement the existing emergency services including the Emergency Aeromedical Service which is operated by the National Ambulance Service in partnership with the Irish Air Corps.
“People are dying unnecessarily due to the time it takes to receive critical care. This new service will be built on the already successful model of Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) which has been in existence since 2009 and uses volunteer doctors for pre-hospital emergencies,” said John Kearney, co-founder of ICAA who says the helicopter will be able to reach most parts of Munster within 30 minutes.
“The launch of a community air ambulance service is the next step bringing better response times with permanent on-duty doctors who will have the ability to bring advanced skills to acutely ill and injured people throughout its catchment area,” he added.
According to Mr Kearney, €1m needs to be raised to launch the service which will require a further €2m annually.
“It will offer a mobile intensive care unit by air, which will allow us to safely transport patients faster to a major hospital, saving time and lives. This is a service for the Munster and south Leinster, and we need the support of the people to donate, fundraise or volunteer for us,” he said.
For more information about the air ambulance service, log onto communityairambulance.ie.