THE National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) has warned the increasing number of reported ambulance breakdowns throughout the country is a source of major concern to front line ambulance paramedics and pose a serious issue for patient safety.
NASRA National Chairman, Michael Dixon said a recent incident in Donegal where the rear wheels of an ambulance transporting four staff and a patient on life support from Donegal to Galway fell off was yet another example of the problems arising with the ageing and high mileage ambulance fleet. In the Donegal incident the ambulance had 412,000 kilometers on the clock.
“With some vehicles with more than 450,000kms on the clock and parts falling off such as in the Donegal incident, it is time for significant investment by government to address the issue.
“NASRA is concerned that it is only a matter of time before one of these events will seriously impact on a patient outcome.
The ambulance is a basic tool of the emergency services and it is unacceptable that ambulance services are allowed to set their own vehicle standards without any official inspection or regulation.’
“NASRA is calling on the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar to empower the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) to set vehicle standards and to be given the authority to inspect and sanction any provider which fails to meet these standards,” he added.