Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (129)

Sandra McLellan


129. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the reconfiguration of ambulance and emergency services here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30401/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A significant reform programme is under way in the HSE to reconfigure the management and delivery of pre-hospital emergency care services. Under Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Health Reform in Ireland 2012-2015, this will ensure a clinically driven, nationally coordinated system to support all pre-hospital emergency care activity in the State. The programme involves a number of measures, including the Performance Improvement Action Plan, development of the intermediate care service (ICS), the trial emergency aeromedical service (EAS), and the National Ambulance Service (NAS) Control Centre Reconfiguration Project.

The NAS is taking steps to improve response times where possible, by addressing challenges such as reliance on on-call rostering, geography, resourcing and the use of emergency ambulances for routine patient transport.

The NAS is moving its emergency ambulance services from on-call to on-duty rostering. This means highly trained paramedic crews are in their stations or vehicles to respond immediately to 112/999 dispatches, and they can move to optimal locations at any time during a shift. The NAS is also developing a non-emergency transport fleet, the national intermediate care service (ICS), for routine clinical transfers of patients, freeing up emergency ambulances for emergency responses.

The national control centre reconfiguration project will produce one national control and dispatching system. With improved technology, this will allow the NAS to deploy emergency resources more effectively and efficiently, on a regional and national basis rather than within small geographic areas. This project, endorsed by HIQA, is a key element of Future Health.