Ambulance Services in DNE

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) is not a static service and as such deploys its resources in a dynamic manner. The NAS works on an area and national basis as opposed to a local basis. The dynamic deployment of NAS resources ensures that the nearest appropriate resource is mobilised to the location of any incident while maintaining spatial emergency cover to the entire population rather than just large towns where the public perceive NAS resources to be statically located and deployed from.

The NAS ensures there is sufficient regional coverage at all times and so the service moves and relocates vehicles and crews to ensure this is the case.

The NAS has implemented an Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System (AMPDS) in all of its Command and Control Centres across the country which utilises internationally recognised protocols and standards to ensure that life threatening situations receive an immediate and appropriate response which means less acute situations will be prioritised accordingly.

Ambulance Resources in the North East are as follows

Dundalk 2 Ambulances on days Mon-Sun (3 on Mon & Thur)
2 Ambulances on nights Mon-Sun
1 ICV Mon-Fri Day

Drogheda 2 Ambulance on days Mon-Sun (Except 1 on Fri)
1 Ambulance on night Mon-Sun

Ardee 1 Ambulance on days (Except Monday)
1 Ambulance on nights Mon-Sun
1 Rapid Response Vehicle on days Mon-Sun
1 Rapid Response Vehicle on Nights (Except Thurs)

Navan 2 Ambulance on days (Except 1 on Fri)
1 on night Mon-Sun
1 Rapid Response Vehicle on days Mon-Weds

Dunshaughlin 1 Ambulance on days (Except Tuesday)
1 on night

Cavan 2 Ambulances on days Mon-Sun
1 on night Mon-Sun
1 ICV Mon-Fri Day

Virginia 1 Ambulance on days (Except Saturday)
1 on night Mon-Sun

Monaghan 2 Ambulances on days– Except 1 on Tues & Thurs
2 on night Mon-Sun

Castleblayney 1 Ambulance on days (Except Saturday)
1 on night Mon-Sun
2 ICV Mon-Fri Day
1 ICV Saturday Day

The NAS has confirmed that no Ambulance Stations are closing in North Leinster. In addition to what changes are needed in relation to rostering arrangements following the Labour Court Recommendation (LCR 20313), the NAS Management and Staff in North Leinster have been working closely together to assess the changes taking place across all HSE services and examining what the NAS needs to do to support those changes while focusing on improving services to patients.

NAS contacts our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) if and when required.

At this time, the HSE employs Officers at different grades within the National Ambulance Service (NAS) to manage the approx. 1600 staff located in 111 work locations nationally and undertake a wide variety of specialist functions. These Officers principally work in the areas of Operations, Fleet, Logistics and Estate, Control and Performance, Education and Competency Assurance, and Quality, Safety and Risk.

The majority of NAS Officers hold Advanced Paramedic, Paramedic (majority) or Emergency Medical Technician qualifications and therefore provide additional capacity to the operational delivery of emergency services to patients in addition to performing their core duties.

Under the Major Emergency Management Framework 2006, NAS is defined as a Principal Emergency Service (PES). Consequently, since 2006, there is a greater expectation that Officers are required to respond to and fulfil various roles as set out in the HSE Major Emergency Plans. Prior to the launch of this Framework and subsequently increased expectations, Officers used personally owned vehicles and received travel expenses to cover the cost of same.

In the context of current Health and Safety and Road Traffic legislation and the uncontrolled nature of the emergency services working environment, the HSE requires NAS Officers to respond to any emergency or serious untoward incident in a safe and timely manner. This will invariably involve continuous contact and availability to respond using blue lights and sirens and availing of exemptions under Road Traffic legislation.

In addition to responding, wherever possible, to emergency calls, NAS Officers are required to provide an emergency response to serious untoward incidents such as:

Any Airport Alert
Any Road Traffic Collision involving a National Ambulance Service vehicle
Any physical assault involving a member of staff while on duty
To allow for clinical/operational supervision depending on the needs of the service
To enable specialist medical teams to be deployed into the pre- hospital environment when required
Any staff member injured while on duty
Prolonged entrapment or rescue of patients
Any incident involving the transfer of a Category III Infectious case
Any incident with three or more ambulance attending
Any chemical or biological incident requiring the mobilization of a Special Operations Unit
Complaint from a patient or public about a staff member
Any report of lost or stolen controlled drugs (Morphine)
Notification of Medicines Recall from Pharmacy Service
Outbreak of Fire on National Ambulance Service premises
Outbreak of Fire on National Ambulance Service vehicle
Break in on National Ambulance Service premises

The above list is not exhaustive. In the context of a 24/7 emergency service, these incidents or major emergencies can occur in any part of the country and at any time.

There are currently a pool of vehicles fit for operational use at any one time ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old available nationally to these grades to fulfil the various duties associated with their roles and responsibilities. A number of these vehicles are decommissioned Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) which have now been moved to second line use with the majority having been registered in 2005/2006.

While some of these vehicles are small vans used for equipment transport or driver training, the majority are classified as Officer Response Vehicles (ORV). Vehicles classified as ORV generally hold an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and other medical equipment .

Where NAS Officers are required to be on call or expected to fulfil a key role in a Major Emergency or are available to respond to emergencies in their locality as a First Responder, then those NAS Officers may be authorised to drive the vehicle to and from work only. Unlike Paramedical staff, NAS Officers are not paid overtime for additional hours, consequently, such out of hours or off duty work is carried out on a good will basis, i.e. no payment.

Any NAS Officer authorised to use one of this pool of vehicles must do so in compliance with the provision of our Authorised Use of Official Vehicles Policy. Where NAS Officers are authorised to drive the vehicle to and from work or are required to park a vehicle at or near their home for service reasons, such use is considered incidental as a consequence of service requirements rather than personal use of the vehicle.

Given the myriad of arrangements and requirements nationally at any one time, there is not a static number of NAS Officers authorised to use vehicles out of hours, however, an estimated average figure of the numbers available to respond from home would be approximately 40 at anyone time.