A Tipperary based paramedic crew was effectively taken on a ‘magical mystery tour’ of the south east region due to the lack of cover according to a local TD.
Thurles TD Jackie Cahill raised the issue in the Dáil last evening where he outlined the situation which faced a local crew recently.
In a 12 hour shift the paramedics were called to cases in Counties Kilkenny, Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford as well as in their home area of Thurles.
The National Ambulance Service says they dispatch resources on a national and area basis as opposed to a county basis. The National Emergency Operations Centre assigns the nearest available resource to every incident.
However Deputy Jackie Cahill says not only is this not an efficient use of the service but it also left Thurles without ambulance cover.
“Out of these eight calls during a 12 hour shift the paramedics only got to attend one of them. In all other instances they were redirected to another area either because an ambulance closer to the scene had become free or because there was a higher priority call somewhere else.”
“These paramedics spent almost their entire shift driving around the south-east of the country. The environs of Thurles during that time – where the ambulance was supposed to be based – would be left without any service.”
Minister for State with responsibility for Public Health Frank Feighan responded to Deputy Cahill’s concerns pointing out that an additional 14 posts in the ambulance service will be filled by the end of the year.
“An additional six whole-time equivalent posts have been allocated specifically to the south east. In addition a further eight full-time posts have been allocated to assist in the implementation of the recommendation of a trauma system for Ireland.”
“The National Ambulance Service continuously evaluates its services aligned to available resources and activity levels. It is not a static service and as such deploys its resources in a dynamic manner and operates on area and national basis as opposed to a local basis.”