At the present time the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) is endeavouring to develop its services such that it will be in a position to undertake all public patients transfers, both emergency and routine, despite the fact that Lifeline Ambulance Service has put forward a detailed alternative proposal to the Minister for Health which would result in a more efficient and cheaper service for members of the general public – see Lifeline in the News. This expansion is happening in conjunction with a wide range of structural and organisational reforms that are also being implemented in the NAS.
However, the NAS has also been tasked with meeting response time targets as set by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the HSE performance statistics indicate that it is a long way off meeting its targets. This means that the current NAS service levels are below those deemed appropriate for the general public and, consequently, the health and lives of members of the public are being put at risk, which is being evidenced by the ambulance service related incidents that are being reported on in the media on an increasing basis.
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