Roscommon/South Leitrim Independent TD, Denis Naughten has described as “very disappointing” the “disclosure” by the HSE that that it does not know when or where the proposed ambulance service for West Roscommon will be operational.
In a statement he said: “While some are playing political games with the issue of the ambulance base, the fact remains that the people of West Roscommon/East Mayo are left without a basic ambulance service, which puts them at an even higher risk on foot of the closure of the A&E Department at Roscommon County Hospital.
“It must also be remembered that as a result of the closure of Roscommon A&E Department people living in County Roscommon are now further away from a fully functioning A&E than those living in any other county according to an analysis by NUI Maynooth’s National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis.
“What is really frustrating is the fact that when the announcement was made last February that the West Roscommon ambulance was to be based in Ballaghaderreen, the HSE had not even commenced talks with the County Council on the use of the fire station complex.”
Deputy Naughten made his comments after receiving a response this week from the National Ambulance Service, which stated “Approximately two months ago, constructive discussions occurred locally between the relevant Area Operations Manager and the acting Chief Fire Officer for Co. Roscommon, in relation to the use of the Fire Station in Ballaghaderreen as an Emergency Dispatch Point”.
Deputy Naughten responded to this information with a clear reference to public utterances on the issue by Deputy Frank Feighan and Senator John Kelly.
“It is hard to know how people could make definitive announcements, when talks had not even commenced, never mind further comments that the service would be operational by July. The question is, July of what year?
“The latest news is putting further lives at unnecessary risk and I want to see this service up and running as soon as possible but people deserve the truth and the National Ambulance Service reply endorses the previous replies which I received that we are still some time away from any conclusive decision on an ambulance service for West Roscommon.
“As someone who has campaigned on this issue for over a decade, who opposed the location of the ambulance base in Knock and who has continued to fight to have a permanent ambulance service based in West Roscommon, I’m calling on the Government members locally to re-double their efforts to secure an ambulance base for the area as soon as possible,” concluded Deputy Naughten.
Issue dated: 20 JULY 2012
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