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HSC News Stories

CRM consultation is closed

Our consultation on the proposed introduction of a new model for clinical response closed on Friday 18 January 2019. Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to respond. We will now consider carefully each of the responses to the consultation.

NIAS Bravery Award

NIAS staff are often looked upon as heroes by members of the public. Sometimes this does not sit easy with our frontline staff who see what they do as a privilege.

But there are times when they go “above and beyond the call of duty” and in order to preserve life they choose to set to one side their own personal safety to ensure that of another.

NIAS has now introduced an award which recognises such selflessness and bravery. The NIAS Bravery Award was awarded for the first time to a crew from the Northern Division, Paramedic Shauna Loughran and EMT Aona Mac Giolla Bhrighde.

Aona and Shauna were returning to their base when they noticed smoke billowing from a house in Moneymore. They stopped, contacted Control and then made their way to the house to lead an elderly occupant to safety before also warning neighbours of the danger. With everyone removed to safety, they turned to witness the smoke turn to flames as the fire caught hold.

Their actions, undoubtedly, saved lives and both Aona and Shauna were invited to a meeting of our Trust Board in Downpatrick, where NIAS Chair, Nicole Lappin, introduced them to the Board before presenting them with the NIAS Bravery Award.

The entire Service is extremely proud of both and they are worthy first recipients of this award.


Enniskillen Ambulance Station

Enniskillen Ambulance Station

Following the opening of a new ambulance station at Ballymena, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) have constructed a new ambulance station with associated staff facilities, training suite, garaging and car parking on the site of the old Erne Hospital in Enniskillen.

The total area of the site is 0.7 Hectares. The gross floor area of the office area is 438 m2. The garage and stores area is a further 900 m2.

The building is designed to reach BREEAM Excellent status and is anticipated to achieve a score of 70.5%. BREEAM is the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. This BREEAM rating has been achieved through the use of innovative features such as a biomass boiler, high quality insulation and LED lighting. BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance. It encourages designers, clients and others to think about low carbon and low impact design, minimising the energy demands created by a building before considering energy efficiency and low carbon technologies.

Enniskillen Ambulance Station

A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology. They include aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.

The total project cost is estimated to be £4,574,000. The construction cost is expected to be £2,427,000.

The building is heated with a biomass boiler with an oil boiler providing backup heat only. This arrangement minimises the carbon footprint of the building. Thermal energy consumption is expected to be 544,440 kWhr per year.

Building electricity consumption is predicted to be 97,720 kWhr per annum.

The predicted water usage is 324 m3 /year.

The new building will provide considerably improved accommodation for NIAS crews and will help NIAS improve the standard of service offered to the Community in Enniskillen and surrounding areas. The new station extends and builds upon the NIAS identity created at the Ballymena station with the colour scheme reflecting the NIAS brand. It is anticipated that the colour scheme and associated design elements will continue to be used on future construction works. This will help put NIAS forward as an important civic entity and elevate its status among the wider public.


The CRM consultation is now around half way through its 12-week timescale.

NIAS continues to invite responses, views, feedback, and requests for meetings from stakeholders, including members of the public.

Click here to view the full document, including full details for contacting NIAS including requesting a meeting:

Icon of NIAS CRM Consultation September 2018 NIAS CRM Consultation September 2018: (2.9 MiB)

Click here to view the Easy Read version of the document.

Icon of NIAS CRM Consultation - Easy Read NIAS CRM Consultation - Easy Read: (3.3 MiB)

Please see below our animation about the proposed changes:

NIAS has attended a range of meetings facilitated by stakeholders to engage around the CRM consultation, including the South Eastern Local Commissioning Group (LCG) on November 01 in Ballynahinch, and Western LCG today (November 7) in Fermanagh.

At the suggestion of stakeholders, NIAS is publicising further CRM presentations that will be given at forthcoming public LCG meetings as follows:

  • Thursday, November 15 @ 2.00 pm – Belfast LCG, Spectrum Centre, 331-333 Shankill Road, Belfast, BT1 3AA
  • Thursday, November 22 @ 2.00 pm – Northern LCG, Conference Room, County Hall, Ballymena
  • Thursday, December 13 @ 2.00 pm – Southern LCG, Boardroom, Tower Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DR

Have you had your say yet?

Have your sayWe are now at the end of the second week of the consultation period on our proposals for a new Clinical Response Model.

We would really like to hear your views on how best we can meet the needs of the 600 people who phone us every day for help.

You can view the consultation document here:

NIAS CRM Consultation September 2018

Cardiac Arrest: Would you know what to do?

Would you know what to do if someone suffered a Cardiac Arrest in front of you? The answer is simply to phone 999 and start CPR until help arrives. Early CPR and early defibrillation greatly increase the chances of survival for anyone who suffers cardiac arrest.

Restart a Heart Day is an annual event where the general public are encouraged to learn this vital life saving skill. We know that many people have doubts about starting it and are fearful of giving it a go – in fact a recent survey showed that 33% of adults in NI would not try CPR if someone collapsed with Cardiac Arrest in front of them. We also know that if nothing is done, the patient will die. In fact for every minute that goes by the chances of survival decrease by 10%.

We are asking you to give learning CPR a go. You will never know when you might need to use it. Most Cardiac Arrests happen in the home – not in a public place. So it could be your parent, brother, sister, son or daughter who might need you to leave all those fears and doubts behind and do something.

The video below tells the story of how one Co Antrim man, who had previously been fit and healthy, suffered a Cardiac Arrest at home. He survived. But what played a key part in his survival was the fact that CPR and defibrillation were started immediately by a local man who had taken time to learn these life-saving skills and cares enough about his local community to volunteer to be on call for the Ambulance Service as a Community First Responder. He saved a life and what better feeling could there be than that?

NIAS Launch 12 Week Consultation on New Clinical Response Model

As part of the wider HSC Transformation Programme set out in the “Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together” strategy, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service today launches a consultation on proposals for changing how we deliver our services. The proposed changes are the most radical development in ambulance provision over the past 20 years.

In recent years the demand for ambulance services has significantly exceeded our capacity to respond. The number of ambulance responses dispatched to calls has increased by 50% over the last five years. This has resulted in many people having to wait longer for ambulances than we would wish, with response times increasing year on year, and falling well below the Ministerial targets.

Our proposals seek to introduce changes that will ensure that those with the most serious life-threatening conditions get the most immediate and appropriate response. We are also proposing to introduce improved call handling procedures for those calls which are less serious, ensuring that they receive a response appropriate to their needs.

NIAS Emergency Ambulance and RRVMichael Bloomfield, NIAS Chief Executive, launching the consultation document said:

“The increase in demand for ambulance services seen in recent years and the resulting increase in waiting times highlights that the current model is not sustainable.

Consistent with the direction of travel outlined in “Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together”, NIAS has been introducing a range of transformations over the past few years which are improving the quality of care we provide to patients and reduces the number of patients needing to be taken to hospital Emergency Departments.

However, it is now time to reform our clinical response model which has been in place for over 40 years. At present, NIAS categorises over 30% of all calls we receive as immediately life threatening, requiring an 8 minute response. Evidence from elsewhere and the experience of our own clinical staff indicates that a much smaller proportion of calls require this speed of response.

By more accurately identifying the most clinically urgent calls, we will more consistently be able to respond to those calls within the appropriate time. For other calls our proposal will mean that we send the most appropriate type of response first time”

NIAS would welcome responses from all stakeholders to the consultation document which can be accessed by clicking here.


Icon of NIAS CRM Consultation September 2018 NIAS CRM Consultation September 2018: (2.9 MiB)

Have Your Say! HSC Collective Leadership Strategy

Have Your Say! HSC Collective LeadershipThe HSC Collective Leadership Strategy was launched on 18 October 2017.

Have your Say on what the new Core Values and Behaviours for HSC are, follow the link and complete the survey.

Your feedback will be used to inform the final set of values and associated behaviours for HSC! 

For more information please click to view the Interactive Brochure

Northern Ireland Paramedics get formal recognition as Allied Health Professionals (AHP)

Northern Ireland Paramedics get formal recognition as Allied Health Professionals (AHP)

Paramedics have been formally recognised as members of the Allied Health Professional (AHP) group by the Department of Health (DoH).

The move follows recent discussions with the Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly, DoH officials and the NI Ambulance Service (NIAS).

Richard Pengelly welcomed the change.  “Formal recognition of paramedics in Northern Ireland is essential to professionalise the profession so paramedics know just how much they are valued as members of the Health Service.

“This recognition will align paramedics with other AHP colleagues and their peers in the rest of the UK, and recognise the contribution paramedics currently make as inter-professional clinicians working across urgent, emergency, primary and community care provision here.

“This change is also in line with the values within the new DoH Workforce Strategy.  It is important that paramedics feel supported in their challenging roles and this move will assist in that.

“Over recent years paramedics have taken responsibility for greater clinical decision making and are providing an increasing range of interventions as part of the wider transformational agenda. This is being underpinned by the move to Higher education for paramedic practice. By including paramedics as AHPs will enable them to expand their networks within the wider group of other AHP professions.”

Michael Bloomfield, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, also welcomed the recognition of paramedics as Allied Health Professionals. He said: “Paramedics are, day and daily, the first contact that many patients have with the Health Service and often at times when they are most anxious and vulnerable, including requiring  the highest levels of clinical intervention due to trauma or medical emergencies. Paramedics are increasingly bringing the initial treatment to the patient at the scene of the emergency.

“This recognition is testament to the increasing role of paramedicine in the provision of health and social care within Northern Ireland. Paramedic Education has been evolving, and will continue to evolve, as part of the transformation agenda ensuring that those who have need of our service can be confident that their clinical care is delivered by individuals and teams operating to the highest professional standards.

“I congratulate all paramedics on having attained this recognition, which brings them into line with colleagues across the UK, and would like to thank everyone involved in bringing about this AHP recognition.”

The Allied Health Professions (AHP) currently consists of 12 distinct and unique disciplines. These professionals provide key services and add critical value across primary and secondary prevention, diagnostics, treatment and care.

Hazel Winning, the AHP lead in DoH who has worked with NIAS to deliver this recognition, said: “The professional recognition decision would bring opportunities across the health service and has the potential to influence patient pathways and make huge differences to patients’ lives.  It can help make use of skills to develop a more flexible workforce and provide more responsive services to service users.”

Northern Ireland Paramedics get formal recognition as Allied Health Professionals (AHP)

Take a bow, Dominic Mackle and Nick Hawryliw, winners of outstanding Bravery Award in the Glens and Causeway area.

Dominic and Nick with their awardWe are delighted that two of our staff walked away with the “Outstanding Bravery” award in the Causeway Coast and Glens People of the year Awards 2018.
On Bank Holiday Monday on 19 March, Paramedic Dominic Mackle and Emergency Medical Technician Nick Hawryliw, based in Ballycastle Ambulance Station, were tasked to attend an incident involving a 22 year old male who had fallen 60 feet onto the cliffs whilst abseiling off Torr Head close to Murlough Bay.
The Outstanding Bravery AwardThey were unable to bring the ambulance as close to the incident as they would have liked and commenced their rescue operation by having to trek, carrying their heavy equipment, across wet, muddy and rocky terrain to reach the top of the cliff. Knowing that the patient’s injuries were potentially life threatening after falling such a distance, they decided that they had to get to him as soon as possible to carry out an effective assessment and so they started down the cliff.
As they got closer they began to realise how precariously the patient was positioned and knew they had taken the right decision to climb down. An initial assessment revealed that he had sustained chest injuries during the fall and was finding it extremely difficult to breathe.
Working as a team, Nick quickly protected the patient’s neck and spine allowing Dominic to carry out paramedic interventions to treat a bi-lateral pneumothorax. This treatment involves inserting needles into the patient’s chest and is difficult to perform in a stable clinical environment but is much more complicated in the situation where they found themselves – at the bottom of a cliff in poor weather conditions. Their ability to perform this life-saving technique under such conditions was nothing short of extraordinary.
Dominic and Nick with their awardDominic and Nick continued to treat and reassure the patient that everything was going to be ok while waiting for the Coastguard to arrive. On their watch, he was getting out of there safe!
Working together, the coastguard and the ambulance crew soon had the patient on board the helicopter. Dominic was also hoisted into the helicopter and continued his treatment until their arrival at the RVH in Belfast.
Their actions on this day speak of them as not only consummate professionals but of them as human beings who care deeply for others who find themselves in hopeless and dangerous situations. They could have, in their risk assessment, decided to stay at the top of the cliff and wait for assistance from the Coastguard. But they sensed immediate danger and they decided they had to do something more.
Dominic and Nick with their awardTheir decision to scale down the cliff face was the major factor in this young man’s survival. Their treatment further ensured it. Their arrival and presence would undoubtedly have brought a feeling of hope to him in his hour of need and their staying with him until he reached the Royal would have made him realise that he was always going to have someone at his side who were totally invested in ensuring that he was going to come to no further harm.
Congratulations to Dominic and Nick. You are now officially heroes and we are so proud of you.