NIAS Regional Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre opens

Monday, 02 June, 2008

The Minister for Health in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mr Michael McGimpsey, MLA, has officially opened the Regional Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre (REMDC) at the headquarters of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) at Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Belfast.
Prior to 2006, NIAS operated from four Control Centres in Altnagelvin, Belfast, Craigavon and Antrim. However the Strategic Review into Ambulance Services in 2000 had advocated that this area of ambulance operations should be brought together on one site.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister acknowledged that the new centre was "an important step forward in the wider programme of modernisation and reform currently underway within the ambulance service".

Mr McGimpsey continued, "we must continue to press ahead with modernisation and reform to make sure that the people of Northern Ireland have an ambulance service which can meet their needs now and in the future; a service which provides the best possible standards of pre-hospital care.

"To support this work and further improvement, I have made available some £14.5 million capital funding and £9 million additional revenue funding for NIAS over the next three years"
During his visit Mr McGimpsey paid tribute to ambulance staff both on the front-line and in the control room.

He said "We all know that there are particular challenges in the provision of pre-hospital care - front-line staff don't have the benefit of knowing exactly when and where their services will be required or what circumstances will greet them when they arrive. Yet they do arrive, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, often faced with the most difficult circumstances and conditions.

"And the reason they do reach the people who need help urgently is because of the professionalism of the staff in the ambulance control room. The work of saving lives starts immediately the control room answer the next emergency call."

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