FIVE intermediate care ambulances delivered for the Mid-West at a cost of around €1 million will free up other vehicles for emergency cases and help improve response times across Limerick and the region, according to the HSE.
A spokesman for the National Ambulance Service (NAS) explained that emergency ambulances would from now on no longer be tied up transferring patients between hospitals or to nursing homes.
Pat Mooney, operations performance manager with the NAS in the Mid-West, explained that the intermediate care ambulances would “look after patients already within the healthcare system, which means that the emergency ambulances will be able to focus on services delivered by the paramedics and advanced paramedics on pre-hospital emergency care calls”.
“The intermediate care service is an essential part of how the NAS is modernising, organising and delivering ambulance services by using available resources to their full potential. This is done to ensure the most effective service for patients moving through the healthcare system.”
Crewing the intermediate care ambulances will be staff trained as emergency medical technicians and in emergency blue-light driving.
While their primary function will be dealing with patients already in the hospital system, they can also be called upon in an emergency “if the control centre identifies the vehicle as the nearest available resource”, a spokesman said.
“Ambulance Control will task them as a first responder to the emergency until the arrival of an emergency ambulance that will be crewed by either advanced paramedics or paramedics. They will also play a central role in the event of a major emergency in the region.”
The new fleet will be able to carry a number of stable patients, either sitting or on stretchers and are also designed to carry incubators and intensive care patients.