A senior ambulance manager who recently retired after almost 40 years in the health service said he is proud of how the ambulance service has developed in recent years.
Mick Norris served as a senior ambulance manager for the south-west for more than a decade.
Before that, he qualified and worked as a nurse in Queensland for 10 years and with the Queensland ambulance service for 16 years.
Mr Norris returned to Ireland around 12 years ago with his family.
“When I started in the Queensland ambulance service, it was very like Ireland’s service maybe 10 or 15 years ago, in that it was one of the last health services to really develop and get the necessary backing,” he said.
“Then it grew and became one of the best ambulance services in Australia thanks to the staff and support it got.
“Ireland’s ambulance service in the south-west has gone on a similar journey in the past decade or so,” he added.
“The level of training, equipment and highly skilled staff make it one of the best in Ireland and other countries.” Mr Norris paid tribute to the hospital services, gardaí, fire crews and public in the Cork and south-west region that made this possible.
He said he is proud of how the service has developed and is keen to see it grow further.
“We have all the groundwork done now for the private helicopter ambulance which will be a vital service, particularly for the people of West Cork, once it’s up and running.
“We also got a rapid response motorbike in operation which catered for around four cardiac arrests within days of being established,” he added.
“It has already saved lives and I’m sure the helicopter service will do the same.
“Meanwhile, the highly trained and skilled staff will continue to perform admirably I’m sure, as they always have.
“With the addition of the ambulance course at UCC, we will now be able to train and recruit within the region which I’m sure will also benefit the service.”