Launch of Specialist Transport and Retrieval Services NISTAR


Health Minister Edwin Poots has launched at The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children the expansion of the Northern Ireland Specialist Transport and Retrieval Services (NISTAR) for critically ill neonates and children.

The new service will be staffed 24/7 by specialists who are experts in the transport and care of critically ill children. The expert project team set up to implement the service expansion took full account of specialist clinical and technical advice to ensure a future service model which is consistently safe, timely and effective and which secures the best clinical outcome for the patient.

To support the transport element of the service, a new dedicated ambulance has been purchased and a new dedicated response car will also be available.

Speaking at the launch Health Minister Edwin Poots said “I asked the Health and Social Care Board to undertake an analysis of the current paediatric and neonatal inter-hospital transfer and retrieval service in Northern Ireland and to consider how best to develop the service model in the future.

The project team set up to oversee the future delivery of this have made a number of recommendations that will see significant improvements for the safe, timely and effective emergency transfer of sick children supported by a dedicated ambulance and crew. I’m pleased to launch this expanded, dedicated, 24/7 service, staffed by specialists which will be invaluable support to many families in the future.”

Over the past year the Health and Social Care Board has worked closely with Belfast HSC Trust and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to shape the future of road transfer services.

NorthernIrelandSpecialistTransferDr Mark Terris, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, Belfast HSC Trust said “This service benefits the patients and families by allowing earlier access to critical care management, which has been shown to improve outcomes. The specifically commissioned vehicles available to the service allow the team to work in a safe environment which reduces the risk associated with critical care transfer.

The NISTAR service aims to continue to deliver an Intensive Care team, to the patient, to allow further resuscitation and stabilisation prior to moving them safely back to Intensive Care for on-going management.

In addition this service will continue to deliver teaching and training to staff across NI who may be involved in the care of critically ill children”.