A CORK TD has claimed that the National Ambulance Service has been ‘under-resourced’ and ‘overstretched’ in Cork South West for years.
Social Democrats TD for Cork South West Holly Cairns further added that it is no ‘exaggeration’ to say the insufficient numbers of operational vehicles and staff shortages are costing lives.
“The National Ambulance Service has been under-resourced and overstretched in Cork South West for years... It is no exaggeration to say that it is costing lives,” she said.
Ms Cairns said the National Ambulance Service needs to be ‘organised’ to take into account both the population and the geographical spread of an area.
“While we have incredible EMTs, we all know there are not enough vehicles to cover a region the size of west Cork. Part of the problem is the Ambulance Service is organised according to population rather than the geographical spread of an area.”
The Cork TD also highlighted that West Cork currently has only one rapid response vehicle which is assigned for 12 hours a day. “West Cork currently has only one RRV assigned for 12 hours a day rather than the full 24 hours. The Minister for Health must address this glaring matter. The very least the people of West Cork can expect is 24-hour coverage.”
A spokesperson for the National Ambulance Service said they are at full staffing levels for the West Cork area.
“At present, the National Ambulance Service has 40 staff positions in West Cork, and this is full staffing levels for the area. The average response time for emergency calls in the Southern region for 2022 was 31 minutes.
"The National Ambulance Service operates on a national basis and mobilises responses to calls for assistance based on patient needs, ambulances may travel to and be dispatched from various locations irrespective of their base as they are not confined to work in geographical areas.
"The deployment model is designed around international best practice and has eliminated previous practices where the nearest ambulance was not always dispatched due to former legacy boundaries,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesman added that the National Ambulance Service also categories non-serious or non-life-threatening calls.