The Irish Open Golf Tournament, that took place in Cork last weekend, was the scene of some excellent golf, a welcome win for Colin Montgomerie and the first use of the Forward Emergency Control Vehicle (FECV) developed by ESA together with the Irish Southern Health Board.

This strange-sounding piece of equipment, that integrates terrestrial and satellite communications for telemedicine, is the latest addition to the ambulance fleet of the Irish Southern Health Board. A very valuable addition because the FECV can be transported to isolated locations difficult for conventional ambulances to reach or to the scene of accidents. Then, through a video link transmitted by satellite, top hospital consultants are able to ëexamineí patients and advise on the action to be taken.

According to Emmanuel Rammos, the project manager for the FECV at ESA, ìthe FECV is a successful demonstration of the applicability of satellite technologies in every day life.

The FECV will be used by the Irish Southern Health Board in the southwest region of Ireland, an area which includes large urban areas such as Cork, small rural villages and islands with a population of just 50 to 300 people. This is also a popular area with tourists and the population can increase by 50% in the peak tourist season. For these reasons, the FECV will prove extremely useful as it can provide a rapid response to critical emergency situations.

Says Peter Curley, Chief Ambulance Office for the Board ìthe FECV will be a valuable asset in view of the large number of events held in the area adding to the risk of accidents or emergenciesî. The next major events to be held will be the Munster Hurling Final and the Rose of Tralee festival.

Fortunately, the Irish Open Golf Tournament proved eventful only for the golf and the services of the FECV were not called into use. However, the organisers and spectators could rest assured that the quality of the health services available on site could match that of the golf.

For further information about the FECV project please contact:

Emmanuel Rammos
Tel: +31 71 565 4109