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Ambulance Service Provision

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 5 February 2013

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Questions (859)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan


859. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if there has been a reduction in ambulance services for those attending medical appointments within the Health Service Executive services; if there has been a change to facilities for transporting non urgent patients, often from their home to hospitals or clinics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5860/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In general, people with outpatient and hospital appointments are expected to make their own travel arrangements, using private or scheduled public transport. The exceptions are for dialysis, cancer (radiotherapy and chemotherapy) and post-operative transplant patients, where transport may be provided. In these cases, the patient's appointment or treatment should be directly related to the condition. Transport may also be provided where, in the clinician's view, the patient would be unable to make the journey without clinical assistance or where the patient must be transported on a stretcher.

Following implementation of the HSE's non-ambulance patient transport policy, responsibility for the arrangement and provision of non-ambulance transport has moved from the HSE National Ambulance Service to local health offices in each region.

For non-emergency stretcher-based patient transfers between hospitals, the Intermediate Care Service (ICS), is being progressively rolled out. The ICS, by providing stretcher-based or other clinically indicated inter-facility transfers, will free up emergency vehicles for emergency duties, allowing for improved response times. In addition to the ICS, the HSE has a framework agreement with private providers for the provision of non-emergency transfers.

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.