Ambulance for sick children announced

Published Thursday, 20 March 2014
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A new ambulance has been purchased as part of an expansion in Northern Ireland's specialist transport service for sick children, Health Minister Edwin Poots has announced.

Ambulance for sick children announced
Dr David McManus, NIAS & Dr Mark Terris, pictured with Minister Poots. (© DHSSPS)

The new service will be staffed 24/7 by specialists who are experts in the transport and care of critically ill children.

The expert project team have received specialist clinical and technical advice as part of a future service model aiming to secure the best clinical outcome for the patient.

A new dedicated ambulance and a dedicated response car have been purchased to support the service.

Speaking at the launch at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Health Minister Edwin Poots said: "I asked the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to undertake an analysis of the current paediatric and neonatal inter-hospital transfer and retrieval service in Northern Ireland and to consider how best to develop the service model in the future.

"The project team set up to oversee the future delivery of this have made a number of recommendations that will see significant improvements for the safe, timely and effective emergency transfer of sick children supported by a dedicated ambulance and crew.

"I am pleased to launch today this expanded, dedicated 24/7 service, staffed by specialists which will be an invaluable support to many families in the future."

The work also took into account the impact of caring for a sick child on the family so that the future service model would aim, wherever possible, to function in a way which meets individual needs and demonstrates compassion, continuity and clear communication with families.

This greatly increased service availability will undoubtedly improve treatment for many critically ill children.

Health Minister Edwin Poots

The Health and Social Care Board has been working with the Belfast HSC Trust and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) over the last year to shape the future of road transfer services.

Mr Dean Sullivan, Director of Commissioning for the Health and Social Care Board said that the Board has also purchased four children's ICU beds at a cost of over £2m for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, increasing the number of units from eight to 12.

"The Health and Social Care Board would like to thanks the project team for their work in developing the plan for the service which will significantly enhance the availability and quality of care to be provided in the transport of critically ill children," he said.

Dr Mark Terris, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said the service would provide patients earlier access to critical care management which can improve outcomes.

"The specifically commissioned vehicles available to the service allow the team to work in a safe environment which reduces the risk associated with critical care transfer," he said.

"The NISTAR service aims to continue to deliver an Intensive Care team, to the patient, to allow further resuscitation and stabilisation prior to moving them safely back to Intensive Care for on-going management.

"In addition this service will continue to deliver teaching and training to staff across NI who may be involved in the care of critically ill children."

Dr David McManus, Medical Director, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, added: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is committed to continuing its involvement in the collaborative approach to enhance the transfer process of seriously ill children to specialist care centres.

"The new ambulance is specifically designed around the needs of these children and supports the equipment used during the transfer whilst also facilitating the medical team which accompanies the patient. NIAS has in place a dedicated team of staff, trained to provide this service, who work very closely with the medical team throughout the transfer."

© UTV News
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