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Belfast Trust Nurse appearing in BBC documentary

23rd November 2022

Belfast Trust Nurse Linda McCready is appearing in a special documentary this month. Linda, who works for the Northern Ireland Specialist Transport and Retrieval Team (NISTAR), filmed with a documentary crew over a number of weeks to highlight her role in NISTAR’s Nurse Led team. The series – ‘Nurses’ – is in four parts and is available on the BBC iPlayer. It follows nurses working on the frontline across Northern Ireland’s Health Trusts including Emergency Departments, Neonatal Units, working with prisoners and in mental health care.

NISTAR provides a transfer service for children up to 16 years old. The service is staffed by nurses specially trained in the safe transfer, assessment and treatment of paediatric and neonatal patients. The team is hosted by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) in partnership with the N. Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS). BHSCT provide the nursing staff and NIAS the dedicated ambulance and crew.

In January 2020 NISTAR developed the dedicated nurse led transport team for neonatal and paediatric patients across Northern Ireland. As there are a limited number of critical care/high dependency paediatric beds, it is vital that these limited resources are used efficiently. The nurse led service repatriates’ infants and children no longer requiring critical care or a regional service closer to home where medical and nursing care can be continued.

Linda said: “I was honoured to be asked to represent NISTAR, and Belfast Trust, in this series. I and my colleagues are absolutely dedicated to the care and safe transport of vulnerable children from tiny babies up to teenagers. We work with very distressed mum and dads to reassure them that their child is under the best care while travelling with NISTAR. It was fantastic to be able to show just a glimpse of the work we do’.

Paula Cahalan, Interim Director for Child Health and NISTAR at Belfast Trust said: “We are thrilled that Linda has been involved in ‘Nurses’. The NISTAR Team, like everyone who works in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, and their colleagues throughout every Trust in Northern Ireland, are unsung heroes. The public don’t get to see what they do daily, and this documentary shows the dedication, hard work and extraordinary level of care that Linda and her colleagues across Northern Ireland show daily.”

NISTAR also provides a nurse led service to the All Island Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Network. The CHD Network was first established in 2015 with the aim of providing a world-class family-centric CHD service for all children and young people across the island of Ireland. Children requiring cardiac surgery would previously have had to travel to Great Britain.