Minister For Health Urged To Outline National Ambulance Service Plans

The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, is being urged to outline his plans for acting on the recommendations of the newly published capacity review of the National Ambulance Service.

Making the call, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Louise O'Reilly said: "The report that was finally published yesterday is part of a trio of reviews of the Ambulance Services. Indeed, this Report has been sitting in its final form in the Department of Health since October 2015. It also follows a review of Ambulance Governance by HIQA and a review of Dublin Emergency Services.

"These reports cannot sit on the shelves and remain unacted upon. In fact, these bodies of work have set down the marker for significant reform and investment in our ambulance services that are necessary to ensure better clinical and patient outcomes.

"The programme for government, in light of these reviews, has committed to 'consider the recommendations when published, and there will be an increase in ambulances, EMTs and paramedics every year to improve response times'. While we welcome this commitment, the absence of substance in terms of funding commitments means that there is significant scope for reneging on this.

"What we need to see now in the immediate term is a response from the Minister on the capacity review and the sister reports on how he will implement the recommendations, even on an incremental and phased basis. These reports are not new to his Department and as such, it would be unbelievable to think that the recommendations have not been considered previously.

"It is at this point that the Minister must engage with all stakeholders and representatives of ambulance professionals to agree on a way forward that ensures we have an operational, properly funded and well-resourced national ambulance service that is fit for purpose. Similarly, he must come to the Dáil and outline a blueprint for the ambulance services, given the volume of expert opinion made available to him."


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