Chopper service to fly injured to hospital
A new national helicopter ambulance service will be launched by the Air Corps next week.
The service provided by the Air Corps and the HSE will be capable of flying badly injured patients to hospital from the scenes of car crashes.
The service will be launched at Custume Barracks in Athlone, Co Westmeath, by Health Minister James Reilly and Defence Minister Alan Shatter.
But while the service will be used to fly patients to hospital from accident scenes it will not be the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) air ambulance service available in nearly every other country in Europe.
The new service will be limited and will use a small Air Corps EC-135 helicopter based in Custume Barracks.
The service will operate seven days a week in daylight hours and will have the capacity to respond quickly to emergencies where patients need rapid access to acute services in larger hospitals.
The Air Corps helicopter will have an advanced paramedic crew on board from the National Ambulance Service.
Roscommon Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan, who revealed details of the service, said: "This development will provide critical additional options for responding to major emergency incidents."