Warning of increased pressure on local ambulance service

The comments are contained in a letter to local TD Niamh Smyth.

It took ambulances on average four minutes longer to reach emergency calls in the region last year compared to two years previous.

Data from the National Ambulance Service (NAS) shows response times for category one calls, meaning life threatening emergencies, were on average 23 minutes. That’s up from 19 minutes in 2020 and 18 minutes in 2019.

In a response to a query from local TD Niamh Smyth, Deputy Director of the NAS William Merriman said the service is coming under increased pressure, with a need for both increased equipment and staffing.

“Recruitment to the NAS is being outpaced by demand for our services… NAS estimate a requirement for an additional 90 emergency ambulances on duty every day which reflects a requirement for approx. 1,100 extra staff.”

He says the service could need an additional 2,000 staff by 2028 if the current trends continue and predicted growth comes to pass.

However, 22 new “development positions” at paramedical grade within the service are to come on stream in the North East region this year. Mr Merriman says they will be available to reduce pressure in this region.

“The positions will provide additional support to the Cavan/Monaghan area.”

Cavan and Monaghan fall under the North Leinster divisional area, including a wide area from Louth to Offaly.

The letter shows the local area, Cavan, Monaghan and Meath, saw a slight increase in the number of ambulances based here from 19 in December 2020 to 23 last December.