Restart a Heart 2019

RSAH 2018 LogoRestart a Heart Day on 16 October 2019 will be a global event.

Events will be taking place all over Northern Ireland during the week of 14– 20 October 2019, helping us to build a Community of Lifesavers!

Please follow the below link to our Information Pack:

Please use this form to tell us about the Restart a Heart activity you are planning. (click icon to the left)

Cardiac Arrest survivor meets with Paramedic who saved her life

People don’t actually get to choose where they suffer a cardiac arrest. But let’s say you could choose. Where would you pick? Would you think perhaps just outside a hospital with a paramedic only yards away.

That is exactly what happened to Newtownabbey woman, Rita Thomas.

On January 6th, Rita had experienced a bit of chest pain and took herself, the next day, to the Mater hospital in Belfast. Rita tells us she was checked over and that neither her bloods nor ECG showed up anything irregular.

She left the hospital and walked out onto the Crumlin Rd where she collapsed. Passers by ran to an ambulance parked at the ED and alerted Ardoyne Paramedic Gavin Coogan to what had happened. Gavin immediately went

to her aid, instructing others to get more help from the ED. CPR was started within seconds and then within minutes Rita was being cared for in the ED.

Things were looking very bleak and, later that evening, her husband, Raymond, was told to prepare himself for the worst.

But overnight Rita’s condition started to improve and the following day she opened her eyes to see only bright lights above her and ceiling panels.

She remembers her first thought was “What happened to me? Why am I here?”
It was all explained to her and she was told she would be transferred to RVH to have a stent inserted.

Rita is already back at work. She not only enjoys life but wakes up every day thankful that she is alive. She knows that everything went her way the day she arrested – outside a hospital and a paramedic on hand. She believes that Gavin was meant to be there on that day.

Today she had an emotional reunion with, an off duty, Gavin in Ardoyne Ambulance Station to thank him personally for what he had done. He, in his modest way, was quick to share the credit with the passer by who alerted him immediately and to the medical teams in the Mater. Between them all, on that day, they did what they were

called to do – save a life.

What about you? Would you know what to do if someone collapsed in front of you – a parent, a sibling, a friend or even a stranger? With early intervention, people can survive out of hospital cardiac arrest. Now is the time to learn CPR – not tomorrow or the day after, or next week or next month. It is now.

Join the drive for a #communityoflifesavers. You never know when you could be called upon to save a life.



Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony 2019

Congratulations to all winners at our Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony.

NIAS hosted its first ever Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony on Thursday 28 March at the salubrious Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick. Attended by 150 people and guests, the event was a roaring success as nominees joined with staff who were to receive their Long Service Medals for service of 20 years or more.

Thirty two staff received the Queen’s Long Service (Emergency Duties) and Good Conduct Medal and another six received their NIAS Long Service Medal. These staff have dedicated their lives to providing the highest standards of patient care to those who need our services. The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, in his address praised their work and commitment to patient care. He assured them that their value and worth is recognised across the HSC family.

The Lord Lieutenant for Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie, was effusive in her praise for our crews and, as she made clear, she was doing so from the perspective of someone who has used our services.

The highlight of the night was without doubt the eagerly awaited Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to each of the winners who were:


Ambulance Care Attendant of The Year (Paul Archer Award) – Diane Moody (Coleraine), receiving her award from retired NIAS Chair, Mr Paul Archer


Control Person of The Year – Adrian Steele (North Desk), receiving his award from Dr. Miriam Mc Carthy



Emergency Medical Technician of the Year – Craig Wilson (Altnagelvin), receiving his award from Dr. Michael Mc Bride, CMO



Paramedic of the Year – Caroline French (Community Paramedic, Castlederg), receiving her award from Hazel Winning, AHP Lead DOH


Support Person of the Year – Martin Mullan (North CSO), receiving his award from Nicole Lappin, NIAS Chair


Trainee of the Year – Melanie Brannen (Altnagelvin), receiving her award from Michael Bloomfield, NIAS C.Ex


Nominated by colleagues, they faced stiff competition in each of the categories as the standards were so high. All who had been nominated deserve praise as their actions have prompted someone, somewhere, to nominate them. To those who were shortlisted, you did exceptionally well and should be very proud of yourselves. But to the winners the spoils! You are the cream of the crop and thoroughly deserved the recognition you received last night.

Well done to everyone and we hope to see you all, and others, back next year.

The final presentation of the night was to Belfast EMT for an act of extreme kindness which her judging panel thought should not go unrecognised. The story was read out by Chief Executive, Michael Bloomfield who presented Noreen with a bunch of flowers which was our way of saying how proud we are of you and how you typify everything that is good about humanity and we are lucky to have you in our ranks.



Noreen Owens receiving a bouquet of flowers, in appreciation, from NIAS C.Ex Michael Bloomfield