Thursday, 23 September 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I thank the Minister of State for his response and join the other Deputies in thanking the ambulance crews and the staff for the absolutely magnificent work they have done over the past year, in particular the past year and a half.
As for the reply, the Minister of State said that while Laois-Offaly has between five and nine "vehicle resources", which can mean cars as well, support is also provided by other crews from Athy, Roscrea, Athlone, etc. The problem is that the region has been left exposed because at times all the ambulances are drawn out of the area. It was confirmed for me yesterday and again this morning by Paul Reid that the issue of distance is being looked at. It has to be looked at for a simple reason. I am not going to argue with the Minister of State that there should be a strict county boundary - in other words, that a Laois ambulance has to go to Craiguecullen, which is a distance of 28 miles, and that the Carlow ambulance half a mile away cannot go there. Of course the Carlow ambulance should be able to go there, but there has to be some distance factored into this.
Staff are overworked. They have no breaks sometimes. There is a huge redeployment of Covid staff. That needs to finish. Other staff can provide Covid services. We need to return those staff involved in Covid services to ambulance services now. I appeal to the Minister of State to do that. We need to increase the number of ambulances-----