Wexford ambulance control moving to Tallaght

David Looby

Published 21/04/2015 | 00:00

The ambulance control centre at Wexford General will close, with operations moving to Tallaght, one of two national centres.
The ambulance control centre at Wexford General will close, with operations moving to Tallaght, one of two national centres.

Wexford General Hospital's Ambulance Control Centre is being closed permanently this summer, with operations moving to Tallaght, County Dublin.

A HSE spokesperson confirmed that the centralisation of Wexford Ambulance Control to Tallaght will take place in the coming months. Up until recently there were 11 ambulance control centres spread throughout the country but one by one they are being subsumed into national centres in Tallaght and Ballyshannon, Donegal.

It is understood that the staff will remain in Wexford, with some working on ambulances and others given business roles for the South East region.

There is concern about how the changes will affect the ambulance service in the county, particularly relating to confusion over placenames which in the past has led ambulances to be diverted to the wrong county due to confusion over an address.

'The National Ambulance Service (NAS) is currently operating within three ambulance service regions with no inter-connectivity of radio or computer systems.

'The current number and type of systems are a significant impediment to making further improvements in emergency response times. This is particularly acute in areas where an emergency ambulance from another area is the nearest resource,' the HSE spokesperson said.

The National Ambulance Service Control Centre Reconfiguration Project (NASCCRP) and associated ICT enabling projects aims to reduce the number of Ambulance Control Centres from three to one operating over two sites while at the same time making significant investment in new voice, data and mapping technologies.

'Our new National Operations Centres are in Tallaght and Ballyshannon so as to ensure an issue affecting one site will not affect the other. The total value of this project, which commenced in late 2010, is €23m. The NASCCRP represents one of the most critical and complex pieces of the State's Emergency Service Infrastructure ever undertaken.'

The spokesperson said the National Ambulance Service's reconfiguration of existing Ambulance Control centres is consistent with international best practice and endorsed by the Health Information and Quality Authority as the most appropriate approach to improve the quality of services to patients.

'From the public's perspective, the changeover will be seamless. 112 /999 calls from the South East area will be answered in Dublin using improved technology. Internal service users such as Hospitals and GPs will be provided with new contact numbers to use in advance of the changeover,' said the HSE spokesperson.

'During the transition phase, both the old and the new systems will remain in operation so that in the event that any unforeseen issue arises, services will continue as normal. Trained staff will continue to work in both locations during this "parallel run" for safety purposes.'

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