Denis Naughten TD has confirmed that a new back-up air ambulance service is to be based beside Roscommon University Hospital from next week.
The service, which is to act as a back-up service to the Air Corps to facilitate training of its staff, will see Irish Community Rapid Response base an air ambulance helicopter beside Roscommon University Hospital for 4 days per month for an initial 4 month period.
“As we are all aware there have been concerns expressed in the past by Defence Force personnel regarding the staffing of the Air Corps service at Custume Barracks in Athlone,” stated Denis Naughten. “As a result of those concerns I have been engaging with Government to secure an emergency air ambulance service for our region.
“This is an initial ‘toe in the water’ so to speak but the core objective is not just to maintain the existing level of emergency air ambulance service but to see it expanded to cater for more patients and over a longer period of time, specifically at night.
“This announcement is about protecting and enhancing the emergency ambulance service in the Midlands and West of Ireland and I expect further announcements in this area with the publication of the HSE service plan in the coming weeks.
“Minister Harris has informed me that he intends to ensure that the commitment that I secured on increased investment for rural ambulances services will be reflected in the forthcoming HSE service plan for 2020”
“As someone who has campaigned my entire political career for a dedicated air ambulance service, and improved road ambulance services, this is a significant step forward,” concluded Denis Naughten.
Dail reply on road ambulance service:
Thursday, 24 October 2019
Denis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent):
The programme for Government includes a clear commitment to improve ambulance response times across the country. A report in respect of ambulance response times this week showed that on at least 103 occasions, it has taken an hour or more for ambulances to respond to life-threatening emergencies. In fact, in Galway, Roscommon and Mayo, on at least 12 occasions an ambulance has taken more than 80 minutes to respond to a life-threatening emergency. The difficulty for those who represent rural communities is that it is not just about the ambulance arriving, but about the ambulance getting to an accident and emergency department afterwards. In the decision the Government made in respect of the trauma report, it committed to prioritising investment in the ambulance services in communities that are more than an hour’s travel time from an accident and emergency department. Will the Government provide an update in that regard?
Simon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael):
I thank Deputy Naughten. I hope he will excuse me for missing the start of his contribution but I certainly got its full meaning. Budget 2020 provides additional resources for the National Ambulance Service. The Deputy is correct. When engaging with me on the trauma strategy, he highlighted the need for more ambulances in rural areas. I will make sure that is reflected in the national service plan. I will also reply to the Deputy directly.