The HSE’s National Ambulance Service (NAS ) has introduced three new intermediate care ambulances in Castlebar as part of its commitment to develop and improve response times to life threatening emergency calls in Mayo. The introduction of the intermediate care ambulance service is a central part of the improvement of response times for the ambulance service in the county.
The three new intermediate care ambulances, costing approximately €200,000 each, will take over roles that were previously carried out by the emergency ambulances in the area. These roles include inter-hospital transfers and transporting patients from acute hospitals such as Mayo General Hospital to set-down facilities, particularly nursing homes.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has welcomed the announcement. “This investment of €600,000, as well as the recent confirmation of three new primary care centres throughout the county, is further evidence of the commitment by this Government to the health service in Co Mayo,” he said. “These new intermediate care ambulances will help with freeing up many of the emergency ambulances that were previously undertaking patient transfers and they will also play an important role in any major emergencies around the region.”
Leas Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, councillor Eugene McCormack, also welcomed the news. Cllr McCormack said that the commitment to healthcare services in the county “will ensure the most effective service for patients moving throughout the healthcare system in Mayo.”
The staff who crew the new intermediate care ambulances are trained as emergency medical technicians and also have been trained in emergency blue light driving. They will form the backbone of the NAS in Mayo, freeing up emergency ambulances crewed by paramedics who have up until now been carrying out this work. It is also envisaged that the crew of this service may at times be required to attend a life threatening call if the control centre identifies the vehicle as the nearest available resource. Ambulance Control will task them as a first responder to the emergency until the arrival of an emergency ambulance that will be crewed by either advanced paramedics or paramedics. They will also play a central role in the event of a major emergency in the region.
Gabriel Glynn of the National Ambulance Service commented: “These new ambulances will look after patients already within the healthcare system, which means that the emergency ambulances will be able to focus on services delivered by the paramedics and advanced paramedics on pre-hospital emergency care calls. The intermediate care service is an essential part of how the NAS is modernising, organising, and delivering ambulance services by using available resources to their full potential.”
The new ambulance vehicles have been built to transfer a number of stable patients, both sitting and on stretchers. The ambulances are also designed to transfer specialised stretchers which will facilitate the movement of incubators and intensive care patients.