WEXFORD CABINET MINISTER DEFENDS CUTS TO AMBULANCE SERVICE
The Public Expenditure Minister has defended cuts to the ambulance service saying the focus should be on patient outcomes instead.
He was responding to a question from Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín who asked why response time targets are not being met.
Deputy Tóibín says Ireland now has only half the number of paramedics in the North and Scotland and it is having an impact on call-outs.
But Minister Brendan Howlin says the focus shouldn’t be on cuts – he says the targets systems should be more patient focused:
“If an ambulance responds to a life-threatening incident in under 19 minutes – but the patient passes away – that’s regarded as the ambulance meeting its target” he said.
“If the ambulance arrived one minutes later, at 20 minutes, and saves a life that’s recorded as missing the target”.
“We need to have targets that are geared to ensure the impact of our health service on citizens” he added.