independent

Friday 29 August 2014

Browne wants Dáil debate on ambulance service crisis

Published 08/04/2014 | 05:42

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Wexford TD John Browne has called for a special Dáil debate about the ambulance service crisis.

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Deputy Browne said he was alarmed and upset by revelations in a recent RTE Prime Time investigation. 'I am deeply disturbed about revelations regarding the ambulance service in the south east,' he said. 'International standards suggest that an ambulance should reach a person with a life-threatening condition within eight minutes. Despite HIQA setting a target of 75% compliance, the National Ambulance Service dropped that to 50% for cardiac and respiratory emergencies, and to 24% for other life-threatening conditions,' said the Fianna Fail TD.

Deputy Browne pointed out that Wexford man Dan Berry died last year after suffering a heart attack in his home.

Despite living a three-minute drive from Wexford General Hospital, an ambulance didn't arrive at his door until 17 minutes after the emergency call was made because it was an another call in Enniscorthy.

'The reduction in service in the south east, is completely unacceptable and lives are being lost,' he said. 'Ambulances have been replaced with rapid response vehicles but this system simply isn't working. I am very concerned that these vehicles aren't being utilised properly.'

Deputy Browne said the RTE programme found they were effectively being used by managers as company cars.

'These specialist vehicles cost the taxpayer more than €100,000. However, out of a fleet of 70 cars only 15 are used on a rostered basis throughout the country.'

The TD said people in the south east deserve a safe, functioning ambulance service that is properly resourced and can serve its catchment area efficiently and effectively.

Wexford People

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