Proposal to Minister for Health, James Reilly, presented in May 2011
Lifeline took the initiative of having a report prepared for the incoming Minister for Health in early 2011, which was presented to him in May 2011, with copies furnished to Ministers Brendan Howlin and Michael Noonan, as well as to Cathal Magee, then CEO of the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Our report proposed a tiering of the ambulance services being delivered to the public, with the frontline (999) services to be provided by the National Ambulance Service (NAS), and the routine Patient Transport Service (PTS service) to be provided by the private ambulance sector. Each sector could then act as support to the other, in the event of capacity issues.
In addition to enabling the NAS to meet the response time standards as set by HIQA, thereby enhancing the service currently being provided to the general public, it also suggested that savings of €18-30m per annum might accrue to the State. However, despite the current state of the nation’s finances, and despite the deterioration in the service provided by the NAS over the last 2+ years, no response has been forthcoming, other than a letter from the Director of the NAS advising that matters are in hand. It has recently been suggested that confidence in the NAS has been shaken yet one proposal that might help to improve matters quickly, at a possible saving to the State, is being completely ignored:
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