O’Donoghue seeks standalone ambulance service for Limerick

€1.8 million spent on private ambulances limerick post news

by Alan Jacques

[email protected]

INDEPENDENT Rural Ireland TD Richard O’Donoghue says it’s “unbelievable” that Limerick’s ambulance service is also covering some of its neighbouring counties.

Deputy O’Donoghue told the Dáil this week that he is at a complete loss as to why this is the case.

“It is unbelievable to hear that an ambulance from Limerick is also serving Tipperary, Cork and Kerry.

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“I have heard of ambulance paramedics being told to go to an accident an hour and a half away. An hour into the journey, they are turned around to go back to their station again because another ambulance can get there sooner,” the County Limerick politician claimed.

“There should be an ambulance service for each individual county and cover for areas that need it.”

Deputy O’Donoghue also sought answers on various aspects of the ambulance service.

“How many frontline response ambulances do we have in the country? How many supervisory officers do we have in ambulance cars who have not been rostered in the community? How many calls per week or per month do the supervisory officers make or attend?”

He went onto call for a full review of the service, “like a Garda division”. He believes there needs to be a frontline medical section and a clerical section.

“As training of an advanced paramedic is quite specialised, why does the National Ambulance Service expect paramedics to perform clerical duties and run budgets?

“I understand that paramedics are being used in test centres. How can this happen when we have a shortage in the ambulance service?

“Ambulance staff and paramedics save lives. Surely, we should have fewer ambulance cars and more ambulances.

“I think a service agreement for a call to be turned around in 90 seconds is important. However, why is there not something similar applicable to a journey response, a time to get to the patient?

“This also needs to be monitored. Talking about a 90-second response time for an ambulance is brilliant but when it takes an hour and 45 minutes to get to the patient, that is crazy.

“We need to ensure we have the correct number of ambulances. We need to get rid of the ambulance cars and put in more ambulances,” he concluded.

Minister of State at the Department of Health, Anne Rabbitte said that she met with representatives of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and believes there are “certain fundamental pieces to be put in place”.

“Although we have many ambulances, we must consider a dedicated retrieval ambulance team,” she said.