Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the National Ambulance Service (NAS) to immediately increase the number of ambulances covering all the major towns in County Tipperary.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after information supplied to him following a Parliamentary Question showed that Clonmel, Thurles, Cashel, Tipperary Town, Nenagh and Roscrea each have only one Emergency Ambulance to cover night duty from Monday-Sunday each week:
“The reply given to me also shows that there is not a single Rapid Response Vehicle for either Day or Night Duty in Thurles, Nenagh, Roscrea, or Cashel.
In January of last year I was informed by the NAS that despite recommendations from its first ever Capacity Review about the urgent need to recruit additional staff, this would only occur over the next four years.
It is now clear that as far as Tipperary is concerned, there has been zero additional capacity built into the Ambulance service covering the county.
This is totally unacceptable given the ongoing chaos and numbers attending the A&E in South Tipperary General and Limerick Regional.
The NAS are talking about developing a ‘single cohesive strategic plan for ambulance services called Vision 2020.’
How many more strategies do we need?
This is a deeply alarming pattern and it is bound to have a significant knock on impact when additional capacity becomes available at South Tipperary General through the planned extension.
What will be the point of having additional capacity if there are no ambulances that can get people to the hospital in the first place.
Just like, the rural transport network, the level of ambulance cover in rural counties is being held together by a skeleton service that is totally insufficient to meet the demand that exists.
Increasing ambulance cover and the availability of rapid response vehicles is the only answer. Why do we need to wait another three years to officially arrive at this conclusion,” said Deputy McGrath.