Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill is seeking details on Thurles ambulance callouts to the South-East
Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill has questioned the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, in relation to how ambulance callouts in the region are operated.
The Fianna Fáil TD has previously questioned the Minister on why Thurles based ambulances are regularly being sent to the South East to make up for a lack of resources in the region, leaving the larger Thurles area without an ambulance based locally.
Deputy Cahill is calling for a common sense, patient focused and staff friendly operation.
“I have had numerous paramedics from around the country contact me since then explaining to me that the system as it stands needs to change. It is not uncommon practice at this stage for a Thurles-based ambulance, for example, to spend an entire 12-hour shift driving around the South-East from one call to the next and constantly being redirected before reaching a call. This is down to a lack of resources in the South-East region,” he said.
Deputy Cahill said that it was “nonsensical” that a Thurles-based ambulance would be sent to a call in New Ross, County Wexford or Arklow, County Wicklow, or Waterford.
“After one single shift, I had a paramedic contact me and tell me that this is exactly what he was told to do. In one shift. That is plain wrong and an absolute waste of resources,” he said.
Deputy Cahill has now asked Minister Donnelly to provide him with a detailed account of all Category-1 calls made to the ambulance services for this year, up until the end of August.
“I want to know how many high-priority emergency calls were reached within specific time frames, and not how quickly an ambulance was put on the road. The metric of how quickly we can put an ambulance on the road is leading to this situation where two paramedics in Thurles are told to get on the road to Arklow for a call, just so the despatch centres can say the ambulance was sent to location under a minute and a half. The metric we need to focus on is how long someone in an emergency situation is left waiting for an ambulance,” he said.
He said that it was of little use to tell someone in an emergency situation that there was an ambulance on the road if the ambulance was over 100km away.
Similarly, it was of absolutely no use having paramedics driving hundreds of kilometres around a region they are not even assigned to, just to meet the response time metric and rarely reaching a call before being redirected elsewhere.
“Simply, the South-East needs more resources, more ambulances and more paramedics. The Thurles-based ambulances must be left in the area to service the area they are assigned to,” said Deputy Cahill.
He said that this was what he was calling for and he will continue to ask the questions until there was change in this area for the better interests of Tipperary people.