Ambulance service: a lot done but much more to do – Naughten

Denis Naughten has acknowledged that the ambulance service in the West has improved as a direct result of his efforts over the last Dáil term, but has also stated “there is still a long way to go to have a service that can meet the needs of rural communities”.

“Long before the closure of Roscommon’s A&E, I had campaigned for the establishment of an emergency air ambulance service. At the time of the closure of the A&E this was one of the commitments which I had sought from Government. While dismissed at the time by Minister James Reilly as being of little medical benefit, working with Roscommon HAC we forced the Government’s hand and secured the establishment of the current invaluable service at Custume Barracks in Athlone,” stated Denis Naughten.

“It’s now vital that we get the air ambulance flying at night and not just during the day. This month, the air ambulance is only operational for about 10 hours a day but the reality is people can have heart attacks and strokes over the other 14 hours and have to rely on a road ambulance to get them to Galway.”

Denis Naughten added: “Also as a result of my persistence, we have now secured a 24/7 ambulance for Tuam which will service part of West Roscommon and North East Galway, as well as a 24/7 ambulance in Mulranny and an ambulance base for West Roscommon, in Loughglynn. But the people of West Roscommon are entitled to a proper 24/7 ambulance just like Tuam, Boyle and Ballinasloe.

“Due to my persistence in Dáil Eireann and direct meetings with HIQA, at the end of 2014 HIQA made a recommendation that the current practice of ambulances bypassing Roscommon Hospital with patients who could be treated very safely at the Medical Assessment Unit or Urgent Care Centre, should be stopped.

“This failure to use smaller hospitals is not good for patients, it is unnecessarily taking a vital ambulance out of the county which may be needed for a more serious emergency and it adds to the chaos in A&Es in the bigger hospitals.

“The people of Roscommon and Galway need a TD in Dáil Eireann who understands the ambulance service and has a proven record of delivery,” stated Denis Naughten.