In a written reply to Cllr O’Brien’s motion, William Merriman, area operations manager for HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) North Leinster and NAS South said:
“While there have been some concerns raised by staff and public representatives in relation to reduced levels of cover at certain ambulance stations, the NAS wishes to reassure the entire population of north Leinster that this is not the case.
“Where necessary, ambulances from adjacent stations will provide cover in a dynamic manner (move to areas where cover is required).
“ In addition the NAS has implemented one rapid response vehicle crewed by advanced paramedics, operating out of Tullamore to further augment services”.
David Walsh, HSE regional director of performance and integration said meetings were being arranged locally on ambulance services and said this could be done for the Laois representatives on the forum.
Cllr Willie Aird said they would have to be given details of what is happening locally. While the service being provided may generally be very high, he said there was no room for anything less than 100%.
He noted that there had been two paramedics treating the individual in the crash which Cllr O’Brien had mentioned.
“If we have two shifts to cover Portlaoise then I would like to know that those shifts would be fully manned, regardless of when people are off,” he said.
Additional information was also sought on the private service provided by an ambulance company.
Mr Walsh replied that he was aware of the practice, but could not tell what the exact criteria is.
He added that he had observed the operation of an ambulance control centre first hand, and the “very sophisticated way of doing things”.
The NAS is also closely scrutinised by the Health, Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) he said.
It would be best if representatives met with the Laois representatives to “explain that is happening locally for you. We will arrange that,” Mr Walsh said.