Local TD, Denis Naughten has revealed that the National Ambulance Service is not even looking for funding from the HSE to staff the new ambulance base in West Roscommon, which as a result will spread an already over extended local ambulance service.
While the HSE has identified just 3 ambulance blackspots nationally, all of which are in the west of Ireland, namely Tuam, Mulranny & West Roscommon, however consideration is presently only been given to staff the new ambulance bases in Mayo & Galway but not the one in Loughglynn.
Instead the plan is to take one of the existing ambulances based in Roscommon Town and relocated it to Loughglynn. However, at present the ambulance base in Roscommon Town is regularly without 2 of its 3 ambulances, which spend most of their time operating outside the County.
This decision by the ambulance service means that it believes that a life in Mayo or Galway is more valuable than a life in County Roscommon even though Roscommon is further from an A&E department.
What is really bizarre is the fact that before the A&E at Roscommon Hospital was closed the HSE believed that an ambulance was needed in West Roscommon but now that its closed, it intends to take an ambulance from Roscommon Town, which still leaves County Roscommon with the same poor service.
Denis Naughten received confirmation from the National Ambulance Service that while it is seeking funds to staff the ambulance base in Mulranny, Co. Mayo and Tuam, Co. Galway it has decided not to even seek money from the HSE to staff the ambulance base in Loughglynn.
The fact is that the ambulance service throughout County Roscommon is operating on aa knife-edge and the plan to spread the service even thinner on the ground instead of providing another ambulance, could in fact push the situation over the edge.
The people of west Roscommon were always of the understanding that when the new ambulance base was completed in Loughglynn, they were to get a new ambulance which would help to improve the ambulance service in both County Roscommon & East Mayo.
This requirement was highlighted in the Prime Time exposé on the ambulance service earlier this year when it pointed out that on 10 of the 14 days analysed by the programme the County of Roscommon was left without any ambulance for at least 2hrs.
These figures clearly show that additional ambulances are urgently needed. A fact endorsed by local Government TD, Frank Feighan.
When questioned on Morning Ireland on 19th March last “Will there be additional ambulances and additional staff?” (provided to the new ambulance base in Loughglynn, Co. Roscommon) he said in reply “Why would you build an ambulance base if you don’t have extra services & extra staff?” He was then asked “is that a yes?” and he replied “absolutely?”
It now seems that the only ‘extra’ that the people of County Roscommon are going to get is an ‘extra’ thin emergency ambulance service which is going to put lives at risk.
I’m now urging all Government representatives to instruct the Health Minister to direct the HSE to provide extra staffing and an ambulance for West Roscommon and not leave the situation until after a life is lost, before action is taken.
Frank Feighan TD interview on Morning Ireland on 19th March last, (see 9.40min into interview): http://ow.ly/vlYEy