Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Questions (172, 173)

Jerry Cowley

Question:

103 Dr. Cowley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a 24 hour ambulance will be located in the Mulranny, Achill and Ballycroy area of Mayo; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that lives are being lost and put in jeopardy due to the considerable time which elapses before an ambulance arrives to take ill persons to hospital; when it is likely that an ambulance base will be provided in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20576/05]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

167 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the action she is taking to improve the ambulance service in the west; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20694/05]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103 and 167 together.

The Deputies' questions relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004.

I am advised by the HSE that its western area emergency ambulance service provides a service to a population of over 350,000 people from ten stations spread throughout the catchment area. There has been significant expansion of the service in recent years. For example, ten additional crews have been put in place; the number of 24-hour bases has increased from three to five, while the overall hours of operation across all bases have increased significantly.

In 2004 the HSE, western area, purchased six new high specification ambulances. In addition, two new rapid response vehicles were introduced as back up to the new fleet. Facilities have also been improved at ambulance stations in Ballina, Boyle, Clifden and Roscommon.

The HSE, western area, has proposals for the establishment of additional stations in Tuam, west Roscommon and in the Achill-Mulranny area. The question of progressing these proposals is a matter to be addressed by the Health Service Executive in the context of the capital investment framework 2005-09.