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Northern Ireland’s HEMS service may be deployed in the Republic

In our last issue, the Medical Independent (MI) reported that recruitment of paramedic and medical staff for the HEMS has commenced. The NI Department of Health also told MI it was liaising with the Department of Health in the Republic but there were no “immediate plans to develop a collaborative service model”.

In further comments to MI, a spokesperson for the NI Department of Health said that the new NI HEMS could “potentially” be deployed south of the border in some circumstances. 

“Initially, the service will deliver a primary response role (mainly major trauma cases) in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) and National Ambulance Service (NAS) road ambulance services in both jurisdictions regularly collaborate with each other, particularly in response to incidents which occur in border areas,” a spokesperson for the NI Department of Health said.

“The NI HEMS could potentially be deployed to respond to such incidents in future, however all tasking will be carried out in accordance with agreed protocols. 

“There may be scope for future collaboration with the ROI Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS), subject to the respective needs of the populations in both jurisdictions and the approval of both health ministers.”

There are discussions between the respective departments and ministers regarding these issues. 

The HEMS will be based at the Maze/Long Kesh site in Co Antrim. Training of new staff is expected to be completed “in the weeks ahead”, according 

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