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A TOTAL RETHINK is needed regarding the operation of the National Ambulance Service, a Kilrush representative has stated.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (FF) has been asked to initiate an independent review of the “grossly under resourcing of the National Ambulance Service, the suitability, effectiveness, efficiency of the current dynamic deployment system used by the NAS for deployment of services in Rural Ireland,” as proposed by Cllr Ian Lynch (IND).

Issues within the ambulance service have not been addressed during Lynch’s eight years on the County Council, he said. Numerous motions have been tabled “but it is falling on deaf ears,” he lamented. The impact of the under-resourced service is “massive”. He stated, “The taxpayer expects a service, before international best practice was every out there, dynamic deployment was simple, if the Kilrush ambulance was gone to Limerick then the Ennis ambulance covered it”.

Instances of a critical patient waiting an hour and a half for an ambulance emphasises “the system is not working. It is very clear it is not working, it is causing tremendous pain in the community. A failed ambulance service is costing us money, it is high-time that the Minister took responsibility in his role,” the Kilrush man stated.

Speaking at a meeting of Clare County Council, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) told colleagues for every sitting of the HSE Regional Health Forum West he has to table a question on ambulance deployment, “I think they know it is not working,” he maintained. An extra Clare based ambulance is needed, Murphy said, “Until it comes from the top down, we’ll be sitting looking for it to come”.

“It is a sad indictment of any Government that people are being neglected,” Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) commented. Marty Morrissey’s recent praise of the emergency services while appearing on The Late Late Show was referenced by Cllr Liam Grant (GP). He recalled of the night Marty’s mother Peggy died, “I was there that night saying the prayers, the personnel in the ambulance service didn’t have a chance to stay and pray because they had to run off they were under so much pressure. Dynamic deployment is not working in rural Ireland”.

Ambulance service personnel are under unimaginable stress racing from one emergency to another, Cllr Lynch added. “Our ambulance services are run ragged, they are drained”.

Meanwhile, National Ambulance Deputy Director William Merriman has said a new ambulance base in Kilrush has been identified as a priority for the HSE in the Mid-West. “An option appraisal of sites in the Kilrush area is currently under way and a capital submission will be prepared with detailed briefing document, programme and costs once an appropriate site has been identified,” he stated.

Clare TD, Joe Carey (FG) has said the HSE need to move ahead with the next phase of the project without delay. “The long distances from areas of West Clare to University Hospital Limerick and the big increase in population during the summer months, particularly in popular tourist destinations, makes the provision of a fit-for-purpose ambulance service an absolute priority”.

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