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'More people and more vehicles': Fianna Fáil's solution to the 'crisis' in the ambulance service

The party has tabled a motion on the ambulance service for debate in the Dáil tonight and tomorrow and reckons that the service needs 400 extra staff.

Source: Hugh O'Connell/YouTube

FIANNA FÁIL HAS said that the ambulance service in Ireland is underfunded, understaffed and needs more resources, including a 25 per cent increase in staff numbers.

The party is tabling a motion in the Dáil for debate tonight and tomorrow on what it says is the growing crisis in the ambulance service in the wake of a recent Prime Time programme on the issue.

The party’s spokesperson on health, Billy Kelleher, said there is “palpable fear” amongst the public about ambulance response times and believes this is adding to “the pressure on those providing frontline services”.

He said that he government needs to “stop denying that there is not a crisis in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and to provide the resources that are so badly needed”.

Health Minister James Reilly has previously admitted that the service can be improved and that there are issues that need to be addressed. But he told the Dáil earlier this month that the HSE budget for the NAS has increased in recent years from €129 million in 2012 to €137 million this year.

Asked to quantify how much extra is needed, Kelleher drew a comparison with Northern Ireland, which has 1,200 staff for a population of 1.7 million, and the Republic, which has 1,600 staff for a population of 4.6 million.

“We’d want to be increasing it by 25 per cent,” he said, adding that “more people and more vehicles” are needed.

Read: “I’m not in denial of anything” – Ambulance chief defends ‘best in the world’ comment

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Hugh O'Connell

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