Commenting on the crisis in ambulance services across the State which is the focus of a Prime Time investigation, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD demanded action from the Minister for Health.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“It is no surprise that this RTÉ investigation has found that only one in every three people with life-threatening conditions were responded to by an ambulance service within the target time last year.
“We simply do not have enough ambulances and enough trained personnel to ensure a proper emergency service. Large parts of the State have been left without adequate ambulance cover. I have raised this crisis at the Oireachtas Health Committee and will be doing so again with the Minister for Health in the Dáil.
“Compared to the Six Counties and to Scotland the number of ambulances and paramedics in this State per head of population is totally inadequate. There are 57 ambulance service bases in the Six Counties compared to 87 for the entire 26 Counties.
“We are not criticising the dedicated work of the ambulance crews. They are providing a modern, highly skilled and efficient service – but within the severe limits of the resources made available to them by Government.
“Response time targets are not being met because of the shortage of personnel, inadequate infrastructure and insufficient funding. Health Minister James Reilly must take immediate action and ensure the provision of more ambulance and more trained personnel, sufficient to ensure that we have a safe service right across the State.”