Sinn Féin Leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to ‘lift the burden off the ambulance service by allocating more resources to it as a matter of urgency.’
Teachta Adams said:
“I have raised my concerns about the impact inadequate resourcing is having and the risk to patient safety with the Taoiseach in the Dáil and with the Minister for Health.
“There has long been widespread concern at the response times in Louth and there have been serious examples of lengthy delays, including one at the beginning of the year in which one man died.
“According to a response I received from the Minister for Health, to a Dáil question I submitted on Ambulance provision in Louth, the HSE has been implementing the HIQA response time standards since 2011.
“This is small comfort for those who fall outside the target times. I also question a response time of 19 minutes responding to a life-threatening emergency of cardiac or respiratory origin.
“There have been a number of cases in recent years in Drogheda and Navan and elsewhere where the response time was significantly less than required from our ambulance service. While HIQA plans in the second quarter of this year to review the governance and management arrangements of pre-hospital emergency care services, none of this will have any impact on ambulance cover unless there is a commitment to the provision of additional resources, including personnel and ambulances.
“Ambulance staff work very hard to provide a service but their efforts are often frustrated by the numbers of available ambulances; their location and the arrangements for the rostering of staff.
“Nor should we forget that there is one paramedic to almost 4,000 people in this state while in the north and in Scotland there is one paramedic to every 1500 citizens.
“This must change.”