Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Ambulance Service

Dáil Éireann Debate, Friday - 3 December 2021

Friday, 3 December 2021

Ceisteanna (131)

Alan Dillon


131. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to increases in average response times by the National Ambulance Service in the western region; the actions that are planned to increase the resources of the National Ambulance Service in the region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59471/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Ambulance waiting times for lower acuity, non-life threatening calls have presented a particular challenge recently, including in the NAS West region.  It is the case that the NAS, in line with many other areas of our acute health services, has been seeing an unusually high demand. There are a number of factors currently impacting on the NAS's ability to meet response targets.  These include:  

• An increase of 20% in emergency calls since February of this year;

• Extremely busy hospital EDs, which negatively impact on turnaround times, or the time required to release an ambulance from an ED following patient transport; 

• The depletion of staff resources due to increased levels of sick leave or staff cocooning due to their being a Covid-19 close contact;

• The ongoing need for enhanced COVID-related infection prevention and control measures to ready both staff and vehicle for a new tasking;

As I made clear in the Dáil on 16 November when addressing the Private Members Motion, I am committed to supporting the National Ambulance Service (NAS) in responding to these performance challenges. The unprecedented level of funding allocated both this year and in 2022 will help our ambulance service to address capacity shortfalls and further build on the staffing level increases that have occurred in recent years.

In regard to any actions to address response time performance that the NAS may have for the NAS West region specifically, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly in the matter, as soon as possible.