Rural ambulance service a step closer

February 4, 2013

An emergency ambulance service serving rural south Armagh has come a step closer with the installation of a rapid response control panel, located in the Fire Station in Crossmaglen, The Examiner has learned.

This development marks the initiation of a long sought-after service for the people of the area, many of whom live well outside the recommended ambulance response times.

Residents and local politicians have lobbied the Department of Health for many years and the news that a deployment point (DP) is to be established in Crossmaglen has been widely welcomed.

The Examiner understands that the service is expected to be up and running soon, possibly before the end of this month.

Responding to an Assembly question  from Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon recently, Health Minister Edwin Poots confirmed discussions were ongoing between the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) and local management of the Fire and Rescue Station in Crossmaglen in relation to provision of emergency response vehicles.

However the Minister pointed out that, even if successful, establishing a DP in Crossmaglen may not necessarily mean that a response vehicle will be based there.

“The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service positions deployment points on the basis of activity, identified by predictive analysis of historical data, so that emergency resources can respond effectively by ensuring that the nearest ambulance resource is assigned to an incident.  Therefore an emergency response to the south Armagh area may not necessarily be by a vehicle based in that area,” he said.