Written Answers. - Ambulance Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

616 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the delays in ambulance attendances to people requiring urgent admittance to Blanchardstown Hospital, Dublin 15, from the Maynooth and Lex lip area of North Kildare; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that delays of up to one hour are being experienced thus necessitating transport of people by car; the proposals, if any, he intends to implement to increase the level of service operating from the Maynooth ambulance service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1998/99]

The Eastern Health Board, in accordance with the recommendations of the report of the Review Group on the Ambulance Service, 1993, has responsibility for monitoring ambulance response times and assessing the adequacy of resources available to ambulance bases in relation to the population of the area being served.

In 1998, the Eastern Health Board employed two additional ambulance personnel for the Maynooth ambulance station. The addition of two staff eliminated the practice of ‘on-call' working by staff at the base and Maynooth ambulance service now provides full 24-hour ambulance cover. Ambulance control staff are trained to apply a system of medical priority despatch ensuring appropriate despatch of ambulances to emergency and/or urgent calls. Emergency ambulance calls are those received from any member of the public when an immediate response is required. Urgent ambulance calls are those received from any medical source. Such calls are usually received from a general practitioner who is in attendance with a patient and who is making an informed decision as to whether or not a time delay can apply to the patient's conveyance to hospital.

If the Deputy is concerned about a particular case involving the North Kildare ambulance service he should, in the first instance, contact the Eastern Health Board which has overall responsibility for providing this service.