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Increase in Air Corps staff in the past 12 months

At the end of February, the strength of the Air Corps was 730 whole-time equivalent (WTE) personnel, compared with 701 at the end of February 2017. The target is 886.

“Recruitment to the Air Corps is via the recruitment campaigns for the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) as a whole, ie, general service recruitment and cadet competitions,” a Department of Defence spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).

“The PDF launched the most recent general service recruitment campaign on Monday, 26 March. This campaign will run until 22 April. A cadet competition will be launched in April. In addition, an Air Corps apprentice aircraft technician competition has been running since 5 March.”

Concerns have been raised in recent years over recruitment difficulties in the Air Corps and how this could impact on some of the health services it provides, such as transport for liver transplants.

“A variety of White Paper projects relating to HR matters, such as personnel planning and skills gaps, are also underway,” said the Department’s spokesperson.

 “The Public Service Pay Commission will also be examining recruitment and retention issues in its next tranche of work.”

Separately, the Department said it was not in a position to provide figures for the number of flights taken by the Emergency Aeromedical Support (EAS) during 2017 and 2018.

The Department said these figures are being collated and are due for publication in the EAS Annual Report, which is expected to be published in late April or early May.

In April 2017, MI reported that there were 415 “completed tasks” by the EAS service in 2016. This compared to 396 in 2015 and 353 in 2014.

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