HomeMay 2010Cork Reconfiguration

Cork Reconfiguration

A team of advanced paramedics has joined the HSE South Ambulance Service in West Cork and are now responding to emergency calls in the region.

Introduced as part of the reconfiguration of the health service in Cork and Kerry, the advanced paramedics (APs) are the first such team to be deployed in the region and are an additional resource who are working side by side with their paramedic colleagues round the clock seven days a week.

Advanced paramedics
The new team of advanced paramedics now based in West Cork 24/7 365 days a year from left to right: Prof John Higgins, Director of Reconfiguration, Paul O’Driscoll, Advanced Paramedic, Mike Norris, Assistant Chief Ambulance officer, Bryan Kelly, Advanced Paramedic, Dr. Adrian Murphy, Specialist Register in Emergency Medicine, Alan Sheehan, Advanced Paramedic, Pat Healy, Regional Director of Operations, HSE South and Advanced Paramedics Kieran Henry and Mick Lynch.

Advanced paramedics are already qualified paramedics and specialists in pre-hospital emergency care who have at least six years experience in the ambulance service.  The APs have obtained a higher diploma from UCD and undergone further training which enables them to perform additional procedures at the scene of an emergency including:

  • Intubation – during advanced cardiac life support procedures, an advanced paramedic can place a sterile tube into the trachea or throat to help the casualty breathe;
  • Cardiac resuscitation including CPR, defibrillation and drug administration;
  • Intravenous fluid resuscitation – administration of fluids to support Pain management – administration of drugs to relieve pain; critically ill patients;
  • Chest decompression – placement of a needle/tube in the chest to relieve pressure due to a collapsed lung;
  • Administration of intravenous (IV) and intramuscular (IM) medications (drugs or fluids introduced directly into a vein or a muscle) to treat various medical conditions;
  • Stabilisation of cardiac conditions: drugs may be administered to regulate the patient’s heart rate when required.
Advanced paramedics
Advanced paramedic Alan Sheehan, on a model, demonstrates how intubation (placing a tube into a patient's lung to help them breathe) can now be performed at the roadside in west Cork before transporting the patient to hospital

The advanced paramedics are alerted to an emergency call by Ambulance Control and  respond in their own fully medically equipped rapid response vehicle ensuring the most efficient and comprehensive response to the
incident. While at scene, the APs have a direct link via a dedicated emergency number to the Emergency Department at Cork University Hospital (CUH). This ensures the APs can liaise directly with an ED doctor for
consultation and decision making around patient care. skilled resource when they most need it.”

Advanced paramedics
The new team of advanced paramedics now based in West Cork 24/7 365 days a year from left to right: Bryan Kelly, Paul O’Driscoll, Mick Lynch, Alan Sheehan and Kieran Henry.
Advanced paramedics
Advanced paramedic, Alan Sheehan demonstrates, on a model, the skills and treatment that can now be performed at the roadside in West Cork before transport to hospital.

The West Cork advanced paramedics team comprises Kieran Henry, Bryan Kelly, Mick Lynch, Alan Sheehan and Paul O’Driscoll.