Twelve additional staff have been approved for deployment in the north west region this year to provide additional emergency capacity.
The news was announced after Deputy Eamon Scanlon called for a second ambulance base to be set up in Carrick-on-Shannon and for more personnel.
The local TD said the response times in the north west are “unacceptable” with the situation in Leitrim being “totally unsatisfactory.”
“More and more ambulances are being called away to cover larger centres. The dispatching of ambulances from one county to cover another due to the lack of paramedics on duty at any one time, as often occurs with the ambulances assigned to Leitrim and north Roscommon, is totally wrong and leaves people highly exposed.
“I am advised that there is no short-term cover available for ambulance staff, meaning ambulance cover may be dropped if staff members are out sick as the minimum required number of staff members would not be met. That is the sad reality.
“Ambulance staff work around the clock, with a 20-hour shift not being unheard of for staff in the north west. That is completely unsatisfactory and it is dangerous. I am sure the Road Safety Authority does not condone unsafe practices such as the hours being worked by ambulance drivers.”
Deputy Finian McGrath speaking on behalf of the Health Minister Simon Harris announced that 12 additional staff will provide emergency capacity to the region. Community paramedics are also being rolled out in the north west to provide care without the need for ambulances.
Deputy Scanlon welcomed the news but reiterated his call for a second ambulance base in Carrick-on-Shannon.