Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Accident Emergency Service.

16.

asked the Minister for Health if he is aware that a national accident emergency service is needed in the country; and if he has any plans for setting one up.

I do not consider that a better service would result from an alteration, as proposed, of the existing structure of the accident emergency services.

Is the Minister aware that in many accident cases, unfortunate people are left lying on the road, slowly bleeding to death, for one and a half to two hours?

I am not satisfied that setting up a national accident service as suggested by the Deputy would make any improvement in the situation, if the situation is as the Deputy suggested.

Can there be any improvement in the existing facilities? I had experience recently of an accident in Maynooth. Those concerned were 1¾ hours telephoning the Garda and ambulances in Dublin before the unfortunate victims were taken away. The service could have come from 70 or 80 miles away, even from Donegal——

The service has been improved progressively during the past few years. The Department have investigated specific cases during the past six or eight months and undoubtedly have come across one or two cases on a parallel with that mentioned by the Deputy. Those are very few and far between. Efforts to improve the service are going ahead the whole time. Today there are consultations about the reintroduction on a permanent basis of the pilot scheme in Dublin. If the Deputy has any ideas in mind that would help that work, I should be grateful if he would give them. I do not think that a national service as distinct from a local one would make any improvement.

Would the Deputy agree that part of the trouble is that there are too few drivers and that some of the drivers are obliged to work for too long, that they have to give up their rest periods?

I am trying to improve the conditions of ambulance drivers.

I know that.

May I ask the Taoiseach, in connection with the forthcoming debate on our efforts to join the European Economic Community, if he would be prepared to issue a transcript of the British Foreign Secretary's speech to all Deputies?

I will consider that.

Or the Taoiseach's three-hour speech — could Deputies have that?

How does the Deputy know I shall have a three hour speech?

Not much in it, anyway. It will be done in three minutes.

It might be no harm to circulate the British Prime Minister's speech.