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

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)

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.

NIAS & AANI Spring Review Report of HEMS

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Air Ambulance Northern Ireland Charity release joint Spring Review report of THE HELICOPTER EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE (HEMS)

  • HEMS has responded to 297 calls since July 2017 
  • 80.7% of incidents reached within 20 minutes 
  • HEMS available for 97.2% of operational hours versus UK best practice of 91% 
  • The charity Air Ambulance NI has raised in excess of £1 million to support HEMS within 22 months

Today the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) and the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI), have jointly issued a Spring Review Report of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, revealing positive progress in meeting the objective to deliver a doctor/ paramedic service as a partnership.

The report reviews the performance of the service against agreed objectives, service quality standards and targets benchmarked against the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA) framework for a High Performing Air Ambulance Service.

The primary role of HEMS, which went live at the end of July 2017, is to deliver advanced pre-hospital care, benefitting those whose lives are at risk following serious trauma by bringing highly specialised medical care directly to the patient at the scene.

Up until the end of March 2018, the air ambulance has responded to 297 calls – approximately 1-2 cases per day. Most of the responses to incidents are by air in the helicopter but the HEMS team also has a rapid response car for times when the helicopter is not able to fly due to weather conditions etc., or the incident is in close proximity to their base.

The report reveals that 80.7% of incidents were reached by the air ambulance within 20 minutes. The service responds to severely ill or injured patients and operates a daylight service from 7am -7pm, seven days per week from its base in Lisburn. It aims to reach any part of Northern Ireland in approximately thirty minutes.

Overall the helicopter has been available for 97.2% of its operational hours, exceeding UK best practice across other UK services whereby air operations should be available for 91% of the operational hours.

Commenting on the report, NIAS Chief Executive, Michael Bloomfield, said:

“NIAS has been working together with our charity partner, Air Ambulance NI, to deliver this doctor/paramedic helicopter emergency medical service.  We welcome the opportunity to publish this first report detailing the excellent progress the service has made in the first nine months since it was established. This is thanks to the dedicated team of doctors and paramedics providing the medical service and the charity staff who continue to work on supporting the service through their fundraising efforts and engagement of hundreds of volunteers in the background to provide the helicopters and pilots.  Together we will continue to ensure that this vital service delivers the highest quality in patient care for those in the pre-hospital emergency environment and we are excited and proud to be part of such an important service which is saving lives”.

Air Ambulance NI needs to raise £2million each year to maintain this service so funding and public donations are crucial. As a new charity, AANI set out an ambitious objective to raise £1million in the first 22 months to match grant funding. Public support has meant that this target has been reached more quickly than expected, although there is still a long way to go to ensure the £1m is doubled to £2m and that it can be achieved annually and consistently.

Based on the fundraising performance in year 1, the charity is confident that, with continued and further support from the public, it will raise enough funds by year 3 to fully fund year 4 costs for the first time.

Ian Crowe, Chairman, for the charity, comments on the performance:

“As Air Ambulance NI approaches its first year of operational service for the citizens and visitors of Northern Ireland I would like to take this opportunity to thank our operational partners NIAS especially our Doctors and Paramedics for their professional commitment not only during their duty shift but for the support and promotion of the charity through this time. Our aviation providers Babcock MCS have maintained a high level of aircraft availability and working closely with them this level of consistency will be improved. The AANI charity team are looking forward to increasing the awareness for the Charity in the coming months and years with public engagement and community events growing every week. AANI is establishing itself as a charity worthy of support and one of the easiest ways to do this is by becoming a member of Club AANI at

The full report is available to view and download here: