Fifty new paramedics posts are to be provided in the west of Ireland, staffing ambulance stations at Tuam and Mulranny, and be included in regular rostering.
The move to on-duty rostering is an attempt to improve response times as it requires staff to be at their stations or vehicles. The current practice of on-call rostering means paramedics are at home waiting to be called out. According to Fine Gael Galway East TD Paul Connaughton, this results in an average 20 minute delay in ambulance dispatching.
Dep Connaughton welcomed the new paramedic posts and the expansion of the community first response teams, particularly those in rural and sparsely populated areas. These are volunteer groups registered and trained to a certified standard, who are contacted by the National Ambulance Service when there is a cardiac emergency in the area.
The responder arrives before the ambulance crew and applies his/her cardiac training, increasing the person’s chance of survival. At the moment there are more than 100 such teams operating around the country and more are being developed.
Dep Connaughton also welcomed increases in Government funding which will provide for the continued funding of the air ambulance service. The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, is currently examining proposals to establish the service on a permanent basis.