Our Mission

We aim to provide near Intensive Care level treatment for rural communities in the pre-hospital environment in life threatening circumstances by volunteer emergency medical personnel. An Ireland where lives are saved regularly by maximising existing resources in rural areas to facilitate in-time response to emergency trauma events. Ireland has a significant rural population in areas where emergency services are already thin on the ground with limited hours of service, and these limited services are being cut back. Emergency services can take a long time to get to critical emergency events depending on the distance between the ambulance dispatch location and the person in need.

Ambulance care teams have a “ceiling” in terms of the levels of care they can administer when they arrive at the scene of an emergency, their main role is to get people back to an A&E service. Unnecessary deaths and serious injuries are caused by the lack of a timely and skilled response to medical emergencies in rural communities around Ireland. The further away you live from an A&E unit, the more at risk you are if something goes wrong.

Our aim is to develop a volunteer model of pre-Hospital emergency medicine in Ireland by using physicians supported by communities working under the NAS. There are times in parts of Ireland where it can take over one hour transport time to get an ASA1 patient to a centre of excellent emergency department, our aim is to maximise resources in the community complementing the existing pre hospital care existing services.

Maximise rural resources with existing incumbent skill-set in appropriate time-frame for emergency trauma – ie NOW! We need to get the resource to the spot (Right person – right place – right time).



Our Values

The values underpinning Irish Community Rapid Response and its affiliates are important drivers of our identity and ethos. We refer to these values when developing or expanding the service and also to guide the service through critical decisions.

Non-Duplication of Service

Volunteer rapid response was developed in response to a deficit of medical skills within a certain timeframe at critical traumas in rural isolated areas, suffering a geographical disadvantage in relation to access to critical care. In developing the service, all concerned are very keen to avoid any duplication of services already provided by state or voluntary services in areas where the service operates. The nature of the service is designed to augment and support other services provided by the state in the areas it operates.

Non-Displacement of Services – Nor providing rationale for scale-back of service

The service should operate in addition to the full range of state provided emergency services in any rural area in Ireland. The introduction of the service should not result in or effect decisions on funding or resource allocations in the areas concerned. Agreement with key decision makers in this regard should form part of the framework agreements entered into prior to establishment of the service. Conversely, data and analysis provided from the provision of rapid response service should influence the provision of additional services in the areas if justification for these services can be found.

Co-operation with other services

It is anticipated that the delivery of volunteer Rapid Response services will take place alongside and in co-operation with other frontline emergency services – in particular ambulance service, but also fire service and An Garda. Having an excellent working relationship and thorough proto-calls and procedures for operations will be critical to the success and sustainability of rapid response services.

Ideally all these services will be closely involved in the development of the service in local areas. It would also be anticipated that rapid response volunteers and these services will be involved in joint training exercises on a routine basis.

Best Practice in medical care and clinical governance

Rapid Response services will operate safely for all concerned, volunteer medical staff, local organisations, partner services and most importantly critical patients and beneficiaries of services. To this end all services will adapt best practice in medical terms. All volunteer medical practitioners are expected to be aware of these practices for all procedures activities undertaken, and will be subjected to peer review on case files.

Learn & Develop – Cutting edge practice

Since its inception Rapid Response services have been innovative and dynamic in terms of service development and pushing the boundaries as to what is possible in trauma care in rural peripheral areas. This value should continue into the future as the service – such that research and development of new practices should continue to form a critical part in the delivery of the service. Linkages with university hospitals and other academic institutions should ensure that this research & development takes place in an atmosphere of academic excellence.


Rapid Response is fundamentally about skills. It’s about ensuring the right skills are in the right place at the right time (within the right time-frame) in the case of critical trauma. To this end a key value and key principle of the service will be to invest in on-going training and development for volunteers on the service.

Community Based & Volunteer Driven

An important value underpinning volunteer rapid response is its community centred nature. This suggests volunteer management and volunteer delivery of the service, with funds raised within the local community entrusted and used exclusively to aid the delivery and costs associated with training and preparation for the service. Community based organisations should be inclusive of all sectors of society and accessible to all. Community based organisations should be transparent, consult with and respond to the community it serves.

No charge of services – Financial Independence & Pragmatic

Services should be provided free of charge to all beneficiaries. The service should operate with financial independence from state or other interests, with costs funded primarily from local fund-raised monies through voluntary effort of local community members. The service can be pragmatic in terms of accepting funds from corporate or state services, but on terms which do not diminish the independence, ethos or values of the service.


The service should concentrate on medical issues and not involve itself in political or lobbying campaigns on issues of health services or rural peripherally. By all means the service can develop or adapt positions on key issues pertinent to the service, but it should address these issues through formal communications and in business-like manner with key partners and stakeholders. (see chapter 7 on communications) The service should avoid communications through media or political channels.


Charity No.: CHY 18454