Anger over ambulance shortage

Ambulance
A Dáil Deputy has claimed County Longford was left without any ambulance cover for a time last week after the two crews on duty were called in to cover a shortfall in Co Roscommon.

A Dáil Deputy has claimed County Longford was left without any ambulance cover for a time last week after the two crews on duty were called in to cover a shortfall in Co Roscommon.

The allegation was made by Independent TD for Roscommon-South Leitrim Michael Fitzmaurice, who said a lack of resources in his constituency was to blame.

“It has come to my attention that earlier this week two ambulances from Longford attended calls in County Roscommon because of a lack of resources there. That meant that Longford was left without any ambulance cover for a short time,” he said, adding that the situation is an ongoing one.

“This is a totally unacceptable situation and I and my colleagues have been highlighting this situation on an ongoing basis for the past 12 months, and nothing is being done,” he claimed.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that lives are being put at risk because of a lack of resources in this area and once again I am calling on the Minister and the HSE (Health Service Executive) to provide the funding needed for an adequate ambulance service for this area.”

Deputy Fitzmaurice reserved praise for the ambulance crews, whom he said are working under extreme circumstances.

A spokesperson for the HSE was unable to comment on the issue at the time of going to print yesterday. However, the organisation has since issued the following statement:

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) continuously evaluates its services aligned to available resources and activity levels across the country. The National Ambulance Service is not a static service and as such deploys its resources in a dynamic manner and operates on an area and national basis as opposed to a local basis.

The dynamic deployment of ambulance resources ensures that the nearest appropriate resource is mobilized to the location of the incident. The NAS utilise the dynamic dispatch of resources from surrounding stations to an incident or to provide cover, if required.