Thursday, 14 October 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
This is the second time I have had to reply about ambulance service in the House. The last time I replied to Deputy Ó Cuív and his colleagues. I am glad to report that they have since received their ambulance in Connemara. We have, therefore, made a little progress on ambulances. I am going to read a script on behalf of the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly. I will convey everything the Deputy said to the Minister. The Deputy might not have realised that I happen to know where Duhallow is. He had me down there over the summer. Once someone goes off the motorway it is easy to get lost around the place.
The Deputy has raised the question of resourcing and response times across the north-west midlands and southern region. I intend to give a national overview of the capacity and performance of the NAS. As the Deputy may be aware, the NAS does not operate a station-based deployment system. Instead, it uses dynamic deployment on a national basis. Dynamic deployment allows staff in the HSE's national emergency operational centre, NEOC, to see all available resources, to prioritise their allocation to the higher acute cause and require an immediate emergency response.
It is important to make Deputies aware that the issue is not the time it takes to get to the patient; it is how quickly the call is answered. If the call is answered within three minutes, that is considered deployed. It is not measured on when the ambulance arrives to the patient. It is important for us to be clear on that, because some Members might not be aware of that. While Deputy Moynihan talks about it taking two and a half hours for an ambulance to arrive, once the ambulance has responded prior to that, that is an efficient call.