Opening the Address

Paul Robinson;

As Chair of the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council I am
pleased to open the "Sharing the Vision" conference.

The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council is an independent statutory agency charged with responsibility for standards, education and training in the field of pre-hospital emergency care in Ireland.

Council and its Committees have worked effectively and have achieved much in relation to the statutory functions of the PHECC.

The Strategic Planning Workshop held in May 2002 was a particularly important milestone and resulted in PHECC's first Strategic Plan 2002-2005. This plan has guided the efforts of PHECC. It is appropriate to single out three specific initiatives from Council's work for special mention: EMT- Advanced; the National Examination; and Research.

The preparation for the implementation of advanced practice by ambulance personnel (EMT-A) has involved assisting the training institutions in developing a course that would achieve the standard required by Council, examining and making recommendations for amendments to PHECC's own Statutory Instrument as well as the Regulations governing the administration of medications by EMT-As (as well as EMTs) and initiating consultations with the Department of Health and Children and service providers regarding funding, selection and deployment issues.

The first National Examination leading to the award of the National Qualification in Emergency Medical Technology (NOEMT) at EMT level was conducted in October 2002. For the first time in Ireland there is a standard that is consistent nationally and that can be compared with standards in other jurisdictions.
  A priority identified by Council it its Strategic Plan is research and processes have been established within PHECC for research and development involving collaboration and partnerships with service providers and tertiary research institutions e.g. University College Galway (UCG), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI) and University College Dublin (UCD). The research is targeted at best practice in service models and service development and will greatly assist Council in its endeavours to promote and develop pre-hospital emergency care in Ireland.

PHECC's work to date has largely concerned ambulance services because of priority needs in the public interest. Our involvement with Auxiliary and Voluntary providers has been mostly informal and certainly neither strategic nor comprehensive. We now want to engage Auxiliary and Voluntary providers and the purpose of the "Sharing the Visior conference is to meet and greet so as to understand your organisations better, and for you to understand us better. Barry O'Sullivan who follows me will outline the change and challenges facing us all. The Director will outline some initiatives in development that we think will hold great interest for you.

I welcome each and everyone of you to this conference and th ank you for attending and look forward to PHECC and your organisations working tog ether into the future.