Niall McCormack | "Hello ambulance service..." - Innovation in pre-hospital medicine

Niall McCormack


Niall McCormack


"Hello ambulance service..." - Innovation in pre-hospital medicine.


In May 1967, 24 men gathered at Ratra House, Phoenix Park for the first ever ambulance training course in Ireland. Up to this point, "ambulance drivers" were selected from a pool of local authority drivers and had no formal training. They would drive to the local hospital, collect a nurse, then drive to the scene of the emergency to collect the patient. 

For 30 years, progress was slow. While ambulance crews changed to two ambulance personnel, without the need for a nurse, and additional training was given to staff, the main focus remained the same; attend the scene, give first aid, collect the patient and bring them to the local hospital. 

Flash forward to 2017, Ireland has one of the most progressive pre-hospital emergency care services in the world. We have an evolving, integrated team of people across the country from local volunteer groups to highly skilled practitioners in the National Ambulance Service. Medications and procedures that, up to recently, were only available in hospital emergency departments, can now be performed by Advanced Paramedics on scene. Critically ill patients can now be transported directly to a specialised treatment centre, either by road, or by air ambulance. Throughout this journey, Advanced Paramedics and new Retrieval Doctors can provide critical interventions to preserve life and reduce suffering.

How have we managed to take these enormous leaps in such a short space of time? And what innovations will we pursue next?

Previous Submission:

2016: Science Fiction to Science Fact: How the Past is Predicting the Future. #cong16

2015 We Need to Talk about Robots. #43 #cong15 

CongRegation © Eoin Kennedy 2017 eoin at congregation dot ie