Roscommon Cllr Laurence Fallon has launched a scathing attack on the HSE accusing it of reneging on a commitment to carry out a three month pilot project to assess ambulance response times in County Roscommon.
He has also accused the HSE of knowing that the results of such a study would be “extremely negative”.
Earlier this year HSE Regional Director of Operations, John Hennessy, agreed to operate the pilot scheme in Roscommon to assess response times, accepting that such data is vital to plan for the future of the ambulance service.
However, Cllr Fallon was informed today (Tuesday) that the HSE had reneged on this commitment and would no longer be carrying out the study. It claimed the study would take 25-30 staff to collate and manage the information and that the National Ambulance Service does not have the “staffing or technological capacity to do so”.
Criticising the decision, Cllr Fallon fumed: “We now have the ludicrous situation where the HSE is talking about the need to improve ambulance response times in the absence of details on current response times - which it is stating can’t be measured”.
“A commitment was given by John Hennessey yet when he contacted the Ambulance Service he was told this pilot study couldn’t be done and his commitment can’t be carried out. This is a completely unacceptable situation.”
“When the A&E closed in Roscommon we were told by John Hennessey that it was in the interest of patient care and the outcome would be a better, safer service and the ambulance service would be put in place to get people to another hospital rapidly.
“We are now in a situation where we have no information on whether the ambulance service on which we are so heavily reliant in County Roscommon is working efficiently, no idea if we even have enough ambulances and, most worryingly, neither has the HSE. Once again the HSE has failed the people of Roscommon,” he complained.
Cllr Fallon has also queried the reasoning behind the HSE’s decision to reverse its commitment to carry out the study. “Perhaps the reluctance to carry out the study could be because the HSE West knows the outcome of such a study of response times in County Roscommon would be extremely negative,” concluded Cllr. Fallon.
“They are hiding behind the suggestion that such a study would have to be on a national basis and would be too labour intensive yet the reality is that Roscommon should, and must, be treated differently as a result of the guarantee given by the HSE West when Roscommon Hospital was downgraded that an adequate, secure, safe ambulance service would be put in place. It is vital that this data is collated and made available to ensure a safe ambulance service is provided to the people of County Roscommon.”
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