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Do you work for NIAS and would you like the opportunity to work with NISTAR. We are recruiting ACAs to work with our adult, paediatric and neonateal teams. For further information, please visit NIAS_Band 3 NISTAR ACA Waiting list for Permanent and Bank Staff – HSCNI Jobs


An amazing service

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the liaison and the organisation of our, daughter’s safe transfer with NISTAR from temple street children’s hospital in Dublin across the border to the South West Acute Hospital. 

I want to thank a lady called Annette who we were told by doctors in temple street was extremely kind, helpful and compassionate to our situation and who liaised so effectively with them to help organise the logistics of our return to Fermanagh. 

We want to especially thank Alison the ambulance driver and Vicky the paediatric nurse who made the journey home with us.
Thank you Alison for navigating your way out of Dublin safely. We know leaving temple street to get out of
Dublin wasn’t straight forward but you had no difficulties in doing it.

Thank you for arriving so promptly to the hospital in Dublin and for being so kind and caring to us during our journey with you.  Thank you so much Vicky for ensuring my daughter was safe and comfortable on her journey down the road.  She had been through so much previous to this trip and I was so worried about the impact the journey would  have on her after everything she had been through. You were so so good to her when she became unsettled, you calmed her down, you entertained her with your bubbly personality and all the sensory toys you sourced
for her and you chatted to her and made sure she was comfortable by changing her positioning on a few occasions.

Thank you for looking after me .. mummy … too. For reassuring me that you would settle her which you did with ease and for offering me a protein bar on the journey.We can never thank you all enough for turning a stressful situation into a positive experience.  Thank God for good people that help when you are in a crises and that is what you all did for us over the last
few days.  This is an amazing service, a much needed one and we are so grateful for everything you did to ensure our comfort and safe transfer.  Vicky left some souvenirs from the trip from Dublin. Every time we play with the toys we will think of you so fondly.
Thank you so much to everyone involved in Temple Street, NISTAR and South West Acute Hospital. We will never forget what you did for us.
About: South West Acute Hospital / Paediatric Services, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick children / Northern
Ireland Specialist Transport and Retrieval (NISTAR)
Posted by Lmcb (as a parent/guardian) 


Congratulations to NISTAR Critical Care Consultant Peter Cosgrove and Advanced Nurse Practitioner Heather Maxwell who have both recently successfully complete the Resuscitation Council UK Generic Instructor Course


Lovely email received regarding Linda from the NISTAR Nurse Led Team

“Linda arrived to the hospital in Dublin to transport my 6 day old baby to RVH following his cardiac catheterisation at 3 days old. She showed true professionalism, care, empathy & compassion to me, my husband & my baby that day. I feel she went above & beyond to offer us reassurance about handing our baby over for transport. She offered me to travel with him but also had the care & attention to recognise that as a new mum with a baby having post birth diagnosis & having had a ceaserean that although I’d want to be by my babies side that he was in safe hands & that I needed to look after myself & made me feel that I could make a choice to travel in the car with my husband who she also acknowledged had been through a difficult time & may benefit from the company of the journey. This was the right decision for us & Linda was key in guiding us through that decision & reassuring us throughout.

Unfortunately, we found ourselves again in the situation of our baby requiring transport from RVH to Dublin to have the procedure repeated. I felt such relief when Linda arrived to arrange the transport for him. Again she was thoroughly professional as well as compassionate & empathetic to us all. She took all our needs into consideration e.g. babies feeding, having his own blanket, ensured it was us who placed him in the pod and that all meant so much to us. This time I travelled with baby & on that journey she talked me through everything that was happening & what she would be doing which put my mind at ease, she checked in with me from time to time to ensure I was OK & reassure me baby was OK & when I asked her questions she gave me her time to listen & help me as a medical professional but in such a way I felt as though I was talking to a friend & that is exactly what I needed. When we arrived I felt that she was there advocating on my behalf with the nurses, liaising with them regarding baby needing a feed & me lifting him out etc ensuring I was included in every step.

I cannot express in words how much she helped us on these occasions & I really feel she deserves special recognition for being a wonderful person who made such a difference to us in a time of need”


Congratulations to NISTAR paediatric nurses Rachel Mukula and Amy Picken who have recently passed the European Paediatric Advanced Life Support Course.


Congratulations to NISTAR Lead Nurse Emma who recently received multiple certificates of recognition. Emma was recognised by her colleagues for being a supportive, caring and passionate nurse leader.


More positive feedback received from Care Opinion regarding the NISTAR team. “The NISTAR team transferred our 8 week old girl from Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry to The Royal Belfast Children’s Hospital. Cant remember the nurses name but she was very friendly and reassuring and made us feel very comfortable about the whole process. She provided her phone number to us and she also took our phone number and promised to ring us should there be any problems during the transfer.

The NISTAR team then transferred her on to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin. Our nurse for that trip was Natasha, again she was very friendly and reassuring and couldn’t have been more helpful. Both nurses also updated us on how she was during the transfer and it was overall a very pleasant experience”  Always delighted to received this type of feedback about our team


Congratulations to Cara Barbour, Susan Reilly and Annette Lavery who all received certificates of recognition today for their contribution to NISTAR and for their continued advice, support and encouragement.




NISTAR were delighted to receive the following feedback via Care Opinion regarding our neonatal team. “My daughter was moved by specialist NISTAR critical care team twice. Natalie and Clare both excellent at explaining and advice!

Thumbs up!

Amazing support, brilliant service”

Well done!

Thanks to all who contributed to our recent charity cake sale. Very impressive baking skills from the NISTAR team.

Over £2700 was raised for the Ukrainian Nurses and Midwives. Thank you!

Good Luck!

Wishing Heather Keenan a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Heather has recently retired from RBHSC after 42 years of dedicated nursing service. Heather was also one of the original NISTAR Paediatric Critical Care nurses.

Thank you Heather for the support and the care you provided to all the children during critical care transfers.


Members of the NISTAR team visited their colleagues in the Irish Paediatric Acute Transport Service recently.

Lots of shared learning regarding governance, education, recruitment and clinical equipment. Opportunities for joint education and training programmes were also explored with both teams hoping to collaborate in the near future.




Congratulations to Ambulance Care Attendant Eugene Fox (Foxy) who has won the People’s Choice Award at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Staff Recognition Awards. Foxy was recognised for going above and beyond every day.

NISTAR are recruiting!

NISTAR are recruiting a consultant to work with the adult team. For further information and to apply, please visit:

71822028 – Northern Ireland Specialist Transport and Retrieval (NISTAR) Emergency Medical Retrieval Consultant (Adult Service) – HSCNI Jobs

Latest News 

Welcome Andrew Gray who is joining the NISTAR call management team.

In Sept NISTAR nurse Laura McMaster organised a charity CrossFit challenge with the Equip CrossFit team. £1231 was raised from the event with the proceeds being donated to REVIVIE, a charity that supports patients and their families who require intensive care. Recently Laura presented a cheque to ICU Lead nurse Rhoda McFarland who represented REVIVE.


Congratulations to NISTAR Nurse Tracey Shaw who recently passed the UK Resuscitation Council e-Advanced Life Support Course



Congratulations to NISTAR nurses Diane Martin and Jenny Gibb who recently passed the UK Resuscitation Council Generic Instructor Course.

Diane and Jenny were asked to complete the course having recently attended and Advanced Life support course whereby the faculty identified them as being individuals who would make excellent instructors.   Congratulations!


Congratulations to NISTAR Medical Lead Dr Brian Mullan and Service Manager Ciaran McKenna who recently attended and passed the ATACC course. In addition to clinical skills the course focused on leadership, human factors and crew resource management. We are very proud of Dr Mullan who has been invited back to be an instructor on future courses.


Congratulations to NISTAR nurses Linda Carson and Moya McAtamney who recently successfully completed the European Paediatric Advanced Life Support course.


Covid-19 Critical Care Transfers

The  NISTAR Teams have recently completed 500 Covid-19 Critical Care Transfers. These transfers have seen our teams spend long periods of time in PPE transporting some of the sickest patients in Northern Ireland between intensive care units. Thanks to all our Doctors, Nurses, Ambulance Crew, Call Management team and Critical Care Scientists for your continued support, dedication and professionalism.


Congratulations to NISTAR Paediatric critical care nurses Elaine Clarke and Louise Bell who recently passed the Advanced Paediatric Life Support course.


RCN Awards

Congratulations to the NISTAR Nurse Led team who won the Child Health category at the RCN awards. This is a fantastic achievement for the team who only became operation in January 2020 and great recognition for the work that the team does. NISTAR Lead Nurse Emma Thompson explained that the team were initially commissioned to facilitate transfers to Dublin for children requiring specialist heart surgery. However the team have quickly established themselves as a vital part of the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and now also regularly transfer children across NI / ROI with other complex needs who require specialist nursing support.

Charity Event

Members of the NISTAR team recently took part in a charity CrossFit challenge to raise funds for the charity REVIVE. REVIVE supports patients, relatives and staff that work within the Regional Intensive Care Unit in the Royal Victoria Hospital. The event was arranged by Critical Care Nurse Laura McMaster and hosted by CrossFit trainer Johnny Pedlow at his Equip CrossFit gym. A healthy platter of nibbles was donated by Pomegranate and Fig catering. £1000 was raised from the event. Many thanks to all took part and to those who supported the team.

Latest News

Laura and Ciaran recently presented the Ridgeway Rovers football team with NISTAR boot bags and water bottles. It was also an opportunity for them to explain the role NISTAR played during the Covid pandemic and encourage all parents to get vaccinated.


Latest News

The NISTAR team will be taking part in charity cross fit classes on 25th Sept. All funds raised will be donated to REVIVE. REVIVE is a charity that supports the regional intensive care unit by purchasing equipment and improving facilities / services for patients and their families. REVIVE have also generously supported NISTAR. If you would like to donate please visit

Latest News 

NISTAR Paediatric Nurse Coordinator Cara and Paediatric clinical Lead Mark recently took part in the Mournes 7 peak challenge along with colleagues from the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Together they raised  over £2000 for Dreamflight and AwareNI

Latest News 

Welcome to  Dr Peter Cosgrove who has joined the NISTAR Paediatric Team.



Congratulations to NISTAR Advanced Nurse Practitioner Heather Maxwell who passed the Advanced Paediatric Life Support Course and has been invited to become an instructor


Best Presentation 2021 Award

Congratulations to the NISTAR HSC team on winning the best presentation award at the recent Safety Quality Belfast delivering improvement programme

Finlay’s Trip to HEMS

NISTAR have got to know Finlay very well over the past few months while he receives treatment in RBHSC and heard about his love of helicopters. Linda and @Paedsnursetash from the NISTAR nurse led team were delighted to take Finlay and his family to visit Northern Ireland’s Air Ambulance last week. Many thanks to @glennhems, @dmona001and all the @AirambulanceNI team for the warm welcome



Dr Tubman Retires

Having worked for over 35 years for the health service, the legend that is Dr Tubman is retiring. Dr Tubman founded Northern Irelands neonatal transport service  (CONNECCT) in 2006 and has safely transferred hundreds of sick babies across NI / ROI. From all @NISTAR_HSC, we will miss you but wish you a long and happy retirement.


Adult Transport Team Training Day

Did you know that NISTAR are supported by a team of 14 Ambulance Care Attendants who play a vital role in helping us provide our service. NISTAR adult Nurse Lead Bill Hickland and Education Lead Andrew Topping recently held a training day for the team to ensure they are familiar with the full range of NISTAR equipment.


NISTAR are recruiting!

NISTAR are recruiting consultants for their Nursing transport team. For further details and to apply, please visit:


“Latest News”

Warm welcome to Natasha Lee who has recently joined the NISTAR nurse led team. Natasha previously worked in London and more recently within the RBHSC paediatric intensive care unit.

“Latest News”

“Congratulations to NISTAR nurse Linda McCready who has successfully completed the APLS course”


“Latest News”

Congratulations to NISTAR critical care nurses Lisa and Tara who successfully completed their Advanced Life Support course.



“Latest News”

“Congratulations to @NISTAR_HSC team members Linda McCready, Carolyn Green, Alison Walker, David Sweet and David Cummins on your #PAFTA nomination. The Paediatric Awards for Training Achievements recognises nurses, doctors and AHPs for their contribution to paediatric training in the UK. Good luck!



“Latest News”

Congratulations to NISTAR critical care nurses Declan O’Hara, Kellie Ritchie and Joanne Thompson who successfully completed their Advanced Life Support courses.











NISTAR are recruiting!

NISTAR are recruiting consultants for their adult critical care team. For further details and to apply, please visit:–locum-consultant-for-emergency-medicine-retrieval-ni-specialist-transport-and-retrieval-nistar–adult-services


 Health Minister Robin Swann visits NISTAR

The Health Minister, Mr Robin Swann visited the NISTAR team on 16th Dec to hear how the teams have helped during the Covid pandemic. The Minister was welcomed to the Royal Victoria Hospital by Co-Director Moira Kearney before being introduced to the teams by Clinical Director Dr Mullan and lead nurse Emma Thompson. Mr Swann was presented with a framed NISTAR badge before leaving. To date, NISTAR have completed 200 covid critical care patient transfers.





NISTAR appoints Paediatric nurse co-ordinator

Congratulations to Cara Barbour who has been appointed to the role of nurse co-ordinator for the NISTAR paediatric team. We wish you well in the new post Cara










NISTAR have recently taken delivery of a new ambulance.

This new Mercedes will be the 4th ambulance in the NISTAR fleet and has been modified to accommodate a critical care trolley and specialist critical care team.

The addition of “NISTAR 4”will help ensure that NISTAR continues to deliver a safe and timely service



NISTAR are recruiting a Band 7 Paediatric Coordinator. Based in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, the post holder will be responsible for the day to day coordination of the paediatric critical care team and nurse led team. The post holder will also be responsible for overseeing training, clinical supervision and clinical governance. To apply, please visit


The closing date for applications is Fri 25th Sept at 4.30pm


NISTAR appoints Education Lead

Congratulations to Dr Andrew Topping who has been appointed as the NISTAR education lead. Andrew will take up the role in Oct and will be responsible for facilitating training and education for the NISTAR team and delivering regional training courses focused on critical care transport and retrieval.


Trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioners join the NISTAR team

Heather Maxwell and Lynsey Freeburn have recently taken up the posts of trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioners with the NISTAR team. This is a new role for the NISTAR team which will see both Lynsey and Heather complete a three year training programme. On completion of their training, Lynsey and Heather will work for both NISTAR and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) within the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. They will work as senior clinicians overseeing patient assessment; treatments and referrals in addition to providing clinical leadership to the team


NISTAR take delivery of new Tecotherm Neo

The NISTAR neonatal team have recently taken delivery of a new Tecotherm Neo. This device will enable the team to accurately cool or warm infants while being transferred between hospitals.







Presentation of Rainbow Pins

Eleanor-Jane McCartney and her daughter Catherine presented the NISTAR team with rainbow pins today. Each member of the NISTAR team will be given a pin as a thank you for all their help and support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delivery of new NISTAR Adults Trolley

NISTAR have took delivery of a new Critical Care trolley and response bag – with a few final checks to be completed before becoming operational.

Trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioner roles within NISTAR

NISTAR are recruiting trainee advanced nurse practitioners. This is an exciting rotational role which will enable the successful candidates to complete shifts in the regional Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and complete critical care transfers with NISTAR. Trainee ANPs will be supervised by a paediatric intensive care consultant and will be required to complete both a non-medical prescribing course and an MSc in Advanced Nursing Practice. To apply for this role, please visit–band-7-trainee-advanced-nurse-practitioner-anp-nistar-picu

Covid 19 Transfers

The NISTAR team have been integral in the safe and effective transport of Covid 19 patients across Northern Ireland. On Fri 3rd April 2020 three NISTAR critical care teams completed multiple patient transfers to Northern Irelands Nightingale hospital. This was the first time in the history of NISTAR that multiple patient transfers were completed simultaneously. NISTAR have completed 60 Covid 19 transfers to date and on 19th May the team transferred the final patient from the Nightingale hospital.


First nurse led NISTAR transfer

NISTAR nurse Linda McCready with Tristan McKillen. Tristan underwent cardiac surgery in Dublin and was transferred back to the Clark Clinic in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children on 20th Jan 2020 by Linda