A significant reform programme is underway 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 National Ambulance Service (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 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. The project, endorsed by HIQA, is a key element of Future Health.
In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy regarding provision of ambulance services in County Meath, as this is a service issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.