Only about a quarter of the country's ambulance stations are fit for purpose, the Health Service Executive has estimated. In an internal assessment, the HSE has forecast that the National Ambulance Service requires capital investment of €277 million over a 10-year period.
It says that €109 million is required for investment in ambulance stations.
"Of the 96 locations, 21 are deemed fit for purpose, 54 require replacement and the remainder require refurbishment and/or extension. Recently completed facilities include Tuam, Carnew, Kenmare, Wicklow and Swords. It is clear, however, that the existing estate has suffered from a lack of investment and a low maintenance budget for some time," it says.
“There is are concerns about health and safety issues in some locations, and many are overcrowded because of increased staffing levels. It is recognised that some of the existing ambulance stations are in the wrong place to maximise response times.”
The HSE document also suggests that a €20 million investment is required to provide an additional 77 emergency vehicles over the next five years. The National Ambulance Service currently has a fleet of more than 500 vehicles.