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Helicopter service available for rape victims 16.01.08

THE Air Corps helicopter is available to fly rape and sex assault victims from Donegal to Dublin to avoid delays in getting forensics and reduce the trauma for patients, it's been confirmed.
Senator Cecilia Keaveney has been told by the Department of Health that arrangements are already in place with the ambulance service whereby the Air Corps provides transport to avoid patients having to travel for hours by road.
"This requires some advance contact with the Air Corps to ensure that they can accommodate the patient but the department states that this generally works well," she said.
"To ensure that Donegal is appropriately facilitated in this interim phase, the Department of Health have said that there will also be discussions with the Air Corps about the service level agreement to provide transport for the cases where it is needed.
"Therefore my understanding is that there is indeed an arrangement for the use of helicopters. It is most important, though, that work will continue to develop the services offered by Sexual Assault Trauma Units around the country."
Meanwhile, Senator Keaveney also received confirmation that a forensic nurse training programme has started in Letterkenny.
"As some people know, Letterkenny will benefit from the forensic nurse training programme which has just started. This will provide the personnel at the local level that it needs to be at," she said.
"In the meantime, the service is to be provided from one of the other units already established (in Dublin etc). There are to be discussions within the HSE to formalise the existing arrangements with specific reference to units providing cross cover for Donegal.
"Services to support victims of sexual and domestic abuse are vital and again I congratulate those who are involved, often in a voluntary capacity, in what they are doing for their communities.
"It is preferable that no one should need these services but in the reality of life it is important that supports and support services are as strong as possible," she added.
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