IRISH Community Rapid Response (ICRR) has been given a cash boost to help its volunteer doctors with their lifesaving work in rural areas.
This comes as a campaign gets underway to raise €1m for the group’s Community Air Ambulance service to be based at Cork Airport.
ICRR got the cash injection as part of the government’s Clár funding whose aim is to support the sustainable development of identified areas by attracting people to live and work there.
A total of €446,000 was announced for the entire country, with €65,000 allocated to Cork, which will allow voluntary first response organisations purchase or upgrade equipment.
John Kearney, chairman of ICRR, described it as a fantastic endorsement of the volunteer doctors, around 19 of whom are based in Cork: ‘This announcement is the next step in equipping more volunteer GPs in the Clár areas with the necessary equipment to attend life threatening trauma and cardiac events in their local communities.
‘Dispatched by the National Ambulance Service directly through the 999/112 call system, the GPs will provide advanced life support, stabilisation and care complementing the emergency service personnel on the scene, thus bringing advanced skills to acutely ill and injured people throughout the Clár areas without delay,’ he said.
Meanwhile the group’s Community Air Ambulance service, which will be based out of Cork Airport, is launching a social media awareness campaign, to raise €1m to get the service ‘off the ground’ this year.
People are asked to post a picture/selfie with their Best Friend Forever (BFF) on their social media platform, nominate five friends and ask them to do the same, and text FLIGHT to 50300 to donate €4 to the Irish Community Air Ambulance and tag #ICAABFF #AirAmbulance.
Cork’s Rachel Allen and Dr Pixie McKenna are among the local personalities backing the campaign.
The Air Ambulance service will mirror successful models across the UK and Europe where geographically challenging terrain warrants its use.
John Kearney added: ‘It will offer a mobile care unit by air which will allow us to safely and quickly treat and transport patients to a major hospital, saving time and lives. We need to raise €1m to take off and €2m every year thereafter which is a huge ask, but in our view, is absolutely achievable.’