Maura Hopkins has called for increased resources for ambulance services in County Roscommon. The Fine Gael Senator urged Minister Simon Harris and Minister Jim Daly to provide additional resources for the ground ambulance service in Co. Roscommon along with ensuring that the air ambulance operates at night-time.
Senator Hopkins said: “This issue is a major area of concern for many people living in our region. We currently face real challenges in the ability of our ambulances to respond quickly in rural areas.
“Loughglynn in West Roscommon was identified as an ambulance response blackspot in the 2014 HIQA report. The base at Loughglynn is still being operated by a crew from Roscommon Town, outside of existing resources. It is simply unacceptable that no additional resources have been provided in terms of staff and vehicles for the operation of the Loughglynn base.”
Minister Daly’s responded to these concerns stating that “the ambulance base now in Loughglynn facilitates better utilisation of resources and provides greater geographical ambulance cover for the North Roscommon area”.
However, Senator Hopkins wasn’t impressed with the Minister’s response.
“This response was totally unacceptable and furthermore, no clear timelines were set out for the review of the air ambulance to operate at night-time.
“While the air ambulance has been very positive in improving outcomes for critically ill patients and getting them to centres of excellence people need this service to be available at night-time. The Programme for Partnership Government stated that it would carry out a feasibility study to explore how this could be achieved but no action appears to have been taken on this measure.
“The people who are currently living in an ambulance blackspot area are exposed to an increased risk of delayed intervention which is shown to have a negative impact on medical outcomes. For example, the likelihood of recovery after a stroke dramatically improves the faster the person is assessed and treated.”
Senator Hopkins added: “An additional €1 million was provided for 2017 to support developments in the National Ambulance Service, surely this should mean that the extra resources be directed towards the ambulance blackspot areas.
“It is critical that increased resources are provided to Co. Roscommon in order to ensure that we are serviced by an ambulance service which meets the needs of people right across the county.”
Senator Hopkins concluded by stating that she would continue to raise the need for additional resources with Ministers Harris and Daly and the HSE.