New ambulance base in Tuam exposes need for West Roscommon

In Health, West-Roscommon by Denis Naughten

Local TD Denis Naughten has called for immediate action to address the lack of proper ambulance cover in West Roscommon, pointing out that it is now the only area in the West of Ireland which is an ambulance blackspot.

While welcoming the commencement of construction of the ambulance base in Tuam, which will service areas of west Roscommon like Cloonfad and Granlahan as well as North East Galway, Denis Naughten said: “It now exposes the fact that West Roscommon is still without a basic service.

“The new ambulance base in Tuam will form part of the network of ambulance bases in the HSE West region and will have a catchment area broadly within a 15 mile/25 minute radius of Tuam.

“In 2001, as a member of the old Western Health Board, I succeeded in getting the development of an ambulance base in West Roscommon adopted as board policy. However, ten years on little has been done to progress this issue.

“The other two ambulance blackspots identified 10 years ago were Achill and North Galway. While steps have now been put in place to deal with these areas West Roscommon/East Mayo has been put on the long finger.

“Some of the country’s major roads traverse West Roscommon, an area which remains a blackspot for ambulance coverage. It is unbelievable that the N17 route from Sligo to Galway, one of the busiest roads in the HSE western region and just outside West Roscommon, does not have an ambulance station within 20 miles of it.

“Neither Knock Airport on the edges of West Roscommon nor the N5 which runs through the county, have adequate rapidly accessible ambulance cover. This situation cannot and must not continue.

“I understand that proposals are being put forward by the communities in both Ballaghaderreen and Castlerea to facilitate the location of an ambulance base in the area and it is now imperative that immediate action is taken to address this life and death issue. An ambulance base in West Roscommon is essential to improve the response times in emergencies and to provide better geographic coverage. It is an issue that can no longer be ignored,” concluded Denis Naughten.