Chambers calls for ambulance base in Ballinrobe

Fianna Fáil T.D. for Mayo Lisa Chambers has called on the Minister for Health to provide an ambulance base in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo

Speaking on the matter Deputy Chambers said “the town of Ballinrobe and South Mayo were promised its own ambulance base by the last government and people are still waiting for that promise to be fulfilled. The geographic location of ambulance bases is key to ensuring adequate ambulance cover right across Mayo. HIQA recommends a response time of 7 minutes 59 seconds for an ambulance crew responding to a life-threatening incident. There are parts of Mayo that are physically too far from their nearest base for it to be possible to meet this response time and so are not adequately covered by the ambulance service.  ”

“HIQA acknowledged in a 2017 report that “there are still service challenges for meeting the optimal response times required” meaning that there are many parts of rural Ireland where it is simply impossible to meet the recommended response times as ambulance bases are too far away. This is why Ballinrobe badly needs its own ambulance base to cover the town and surrounding South Mayo communities. The nearest ambulance base to Ballinrobe currently is in Castlebar, which we know is already stretched and is clearly more than 7 minutes 59 seconds from Ballinrobe.” she continued

“This is an issue that is consistently raised with me and is a major concern for people living in Ballinrobe and the surrounding areas; people are very aware that if they need an ambulance they will have to wait far longer than is safe and they understandably want this issue addressed.” she continued.

“I have submitted a number of Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for Health regarding the status of an ambulance base for the Ballinrobe area. I received a response from the National Ambulance Service (NAS) that discussions are taking place between NAS management and staff in relation to the establishment of a development point in Ballinrobe. It is disappointing and regrettable that at this late stage we are still only discussing a possible plan rather than implementing one. I am not satisfied that a development point will be adequate and will be pushing for the establishment of a full time and permanent ambulance base in Ballinrobe.” she continued

“I have written to the Minister for Health seeking a more definitive answer around the actual proposals for Ballinrobe and a timeline for delivery. If we are serious about ensuring all citizens have access to full and proper ambulance cover then an ambulance base for South Mayo in Ballinrobe is the only way to achieve that. ” she concluded.