Dáil debates

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

8:00 pm

Photo of Brian Lenihan JnrBrian Lenihan Jnr (Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Minister of State, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Minister of State, Department of Health and Children; Dublin West, Fianna Fail)

I thank the Deputy for raising this matter, which I am taking on behalf of my colleague, the Minister for Health and Children.

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive has responsibility for the provision of ambulance services. The HSE has advised that services for the Carrick-on-Suir area are provided from the ambulance base in Waterford with a backup service provided from the ambulance base in Clonmel. Funding has been provided in the HSE capital plan 2006 for the upgrade of the ambulance base in Waterford. The pre-hospital emergency care council, which is responsible for the development of professional and performance standards for the ambulance service, is undertaking a spatial analysis in conjunction with the HSE national ambulance office. The results of this analysis will be used to identify the optimum location for ambulance bases and deployment arrangements to meet the identified demands and minimise response times for emergency calls. The analysis commenced in the north-west region and it will be extended by the HSE to cover all regions, including south Tipperary. The HSE is reviewing ambulance demands, activity and response times, with a view to providing the best service for the people of south Tipperary and Carrick-on-Suir. Decisions on the future location on ambulance bases for the region will also be informed by the current reorganisation of acute hospital services in south Tipperary. The elimination of on-call arrangements as a means of providing emergency ambulance cover, is designed to facilitate improvements in response times. The HSE has advised that the provision of additional funding in recent years has facilitated the total elimination of on-call arrangements in a number of areas, including south Tipperary.

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