Denis Naughten has raised his concerns for the air ambulance service in the Dail. On Wednesday the Roscommon Deputy stated the need for the Minister for Defence to outline the circumstances surrounding the crash of the Air Corps Aeromedical ambulance based at Custume Barracks Athlone.
The Minister told the Deputy that at present the Air Corps are examining the likelihood of resuming the EAS service as soon as possible using an AW 139 aircraft out of Baldonnel in Dublin.
“At this stage it is not possible to say when the service will resume from Custume Barracks, Athlone. Following a preliminary investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Unit this matter will receive further consideration,’ he said.
The Minster added: “It should be emphasised that the Emergency Aeromedical Service is a separate service to the Air Ambulance Service provided by the Air Corps to the Health Service Executive for inter-hospital transfer of patients with serious injuries and for organ retrieval missions. This service is unaffected by this incident.”
Deputy Naughten said the air ambulance service was established in Athlone because of the huge void left by the closure of Roscommon Hospital. “We are now back to that situation again because of the grounding of that particular aircraft. It is unacceptable that the interim measure that the department of defence is looking at is the provision of an air ambulance service out of Dublin.
“We need to ensure the service is reinstated as soon as possible out of Custume barracks in Athlone,” Deputy Naughten told the Roscommon People.
Meanwhile Deputy Feighan confirmed that every effort is being made to ensure the air ambulance service is up and running again as soon as possible following a hard landing by the helicopter on Tuesday.
“The air ambulance was on an emergency call to Borrisoleigh in Tipperary but was forced to make a hard landing. All three crew on board, the two Air Corps crew and a paramedic, were unharmed in the incident,” stated Deputy Feighan.
“Just as important, a road ambulance responded very quickly to the incident and successfully and safely transferred the patient requiring care to the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick, less than an hour away.
Issue dated: 22 June 2012
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