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Irish Water admin costs would be better spent on ambulance services – Ó Clochartaigh

21 August, 2015

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Affairs, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh today launched Sinn Féin’s budget proposals on rural ambulance services. Sinn Féin are proposing to increase services to guarantee a basic level of care to isolated rural communities across the country, the cost of which would almost equal that of administering the Irish Water Conservation Grant.  

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:

“I want to raise a concern about rural ambulance services across the region. Many communities across the country experience long and dangerous delays waiting for ambulances. Isolated rural communities have been underprovided for in so many aspects of health and have faced particular challenges when it comes to ambulances. The state must guarantee basic levels of care across the country.

“Paramedics in our health service are working under increasing pressure, with an increasing number and complexity of callouts. The Government has failed to support them by providing adequate numbers of staff. With depleted numbers servicing areas and some even being left without any emergency cover this directly increases the risk of serious injury and deaths.

“In 2013 only one in every three cases classified as serious were reached within the target time. These targets themselves were reduced by the HSE to 80 per cent in 2012 and then to 70 per cent in 2013. Despite this the service is still missing its targets. In the most recent set of figures all regions apart from North Leinster fail to meet targets for the most serious calls.

“Compared to the Six Counties and to Scotland the number of ambulances and paramedics in this State per head of population is totally inadequate.

“Sinn Féin would fund an additional two ambulances and personnel for each of the four regions.  We would provide for increased emergency ambulance cover - 2 additional ambulances including personnel for each of the four regions. Overall that would mean 88 staff and 8 ambulances at a cost of €6.67 million.

“It’s not a huge amount of money. If you look at the €6 million spent on administration costs the water charges grant alone, calling for €6.6 million to be made available for life-saving services across rural Ireland and across the country is clearly an investment that should be made immediately.”

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