Ambulance service must be properly funded- Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressed concern at the number of older emergency ambulances, rapid response vehicles and intermediate care vehicles operating within the Louth region as part of the North Leinster service.
Teachta Adams said:
“HSE figures released to my colleague Louise O’Reilly TD on the state of the ambulance service, allied to the recent HIQA review of plans to improve emergency services, reveal an ambulance and emergency service that needs a significant increase in new resources and funding.
“The National Ambulance Service has committed to replacing all of its emergency ambulance fleet that is over five years old by the end of this year. According to the HSE figures there are currently eight ambulances still in service in the North Leinster area that were introduced between 2011 and 2012. Four intermediate care vehicles and 10 rapid response vehicles also began service between 2010 and 2012.
“Equally worrying is the fact that 13 emergency ambulances in the North Leinster region have travelled between 240,000 and 320,000 kilometres and four more have done over than 320,000 kilometres. The age and amount of kilometres of these vehicles is especially worrying given past occasions when ambulances broke down while carrying out emergency work.
“Any analysis of these worrying statistics also has to be set in the context of the report published in March by the Health Information and Quality Control Authority of the emergency services. That report, which reviewed an earlier HIQA report from 2014 that had made 12 key recommendations for the National Ambulance Service and the Dublin Fire Brigade, to improve the ambulance service, found that while some progress had been made ‘collective medium to long term strategic palling including both services for the provision of publicly funded pre-hospital emergency care in Ireland does not exist.’
“The March report also concluded that ‘emergency response time performance has remained static and below expected levels of performance’.
“The 2014 report had recommended that response time targets should differentiate between urban, rural and combined response results to help improve response times. This was supported by the National Capacity Review but HIQA found in March that this had still not occurred.
“Emergency staff carry out their duties diligently and professionally and deserve our thanks but if society is to have the emergency health services that can save lives and are effective and efficient then the government has a responsibility to provide greater resources, including funding and new vehicles.”