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NASRA , the National Ambulance Service Representative Association said today (Wednesday, 18 th May ) that the findings of a HSE review of the National Ambulance Service must be acted on urgently in order to avoid further tragedy as a result of lack of investment and the inability of ambulances to respond adequately to emergency incidents.

Commenting on the publication the National Ambulance Service of Ireland's Emergency Service Baseline and Capacity Review, NASRA National Chairman, Michael Dixon said ; ‘We have seen a number of adverse incidents in recent years that have resulted from lack of investment in the National Ambulance Service and the HSE insistence on defending response times that have now been shown to be completely unrealistic'.

‘The HSE and NAS can take no comfort from this independent Review as paramedics on the ground, who are working under intolerable pressure, have warned of the inadequacies in personnel and equipment in the ambulance service but have been ignored while the HSE defended the service that has now been shown to be understaffed and under resourced to meet the huge demands on it within the reconfigured hospital system.'

NASRA's was very clear in our own findings last year that the HIQA targets for ambulance response times were impossible to meet and are exposing the public to unnecessary danger. We now learn that one of the main finding of the HSE Review (carried out for the HSE by UK consultancy Lightfoot Solutions) is that the NAS ‘cannot possibly' achieve prescribed targets for response times.

‘Today's Review also confirms that understaffing is a major issue for the NAS with a need for significant recruitment of up to 600 new staff. We are calling on the HSE to begin meaningful engagement with all staff representative stakeholders in the NAS to urgently address the findings of the Review and ensure that public confidence can be restored in the ambulance service.'

Media Contact : Derek Cunningham 086-2430535