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HSE confirms five ambulance safety incident reviews

The Executive released the information about the reviews following a Parliamentary Question on the subject by Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly.

According to the HSE, in 2007 an incident was investigated where a vehicle was damaged by fire and the cause was identified at that time.

Four subsequent incidents occurred in December 2008, January and November 2009, June 2014 and September 2016.

The most recent incident occurred outside Naas General Hospital, Kildare, when an ambulance caught fire, resulting in the death of a patient and injury to paramedical staff.

“The investigation regarding the September 2016 incident is still ongoing, the previous incidents were all fully investigated by the vehicle manufacturer and by independent engineers on behalf of the NAS,” according to the response.

“Modifications were carried out to the existing NAS fleet at the time and on subsequent new vehicles.”

The HSE also stated that all NAS emergency vehicles undergo a documented ‘pre-shift’ inspection process at the commencement of each shift. The NAS commissioned 64 new emergency ambulances to its fleet in 2015 and plans to introduce a further 85 new emergency ambulances across the country in 2016.

As revealed by the Medical Independent earlier this year, the HSE missed its deadline to replace all front-line emergency vehicles aged seven years or more by the end of July.

The NAS confirmed there were 27 emergency ambulances across the country over seven years old, as of early September. It is now hoped these ambulances will be decommissioned by the end of this year.

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