Minister Opens HSE National Ambulance Services New Headquarters

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New state of the art facility for the National Emergency Operations Centre & National Ambulance Service Education Centre

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar T.D. today officially opened the new HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) headquarters, in the Rivers Building, Tallaght, Dublin 24.   This building houses the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) where 999/112 calls are received and emergency paramedic teams are dispatched. This new state of the art facility enables the NAS to see all available paramedic teams and vehicles in real time, ensuring that the closest available resource is dispatched to an emergency within moments of the call being received.

The NEOC operates over two sites, on a singular ICT platform, one in the Rivers Building and the other in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. The NEOC also houses the aeromedical coordination centre for all emergency aeromedical requests and dispatches the emergency aeromedical service. In January of this year the NAS through the NEOC received an accreditation from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. This accreditation places the NEOC as one of only seven centres with this accreditation, within the UK and Europe.

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The Rivers Building also houses the National Ambulance Service College where all NAS Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and Advanced Paramedics receive training and ongoing revalidation. This college has the latest training aids and simulators within the building ensuring comprehensive training in a consistent manner for all staff. The college also trains all the call taking and dispatch staff for the NEOC on an ongoing basis.

Minister Varadkar said; ‘Today’s official opening is further evidence of our evolving, modernising and improving National Ambulance Service. Not that long ago, the ambulance service did little more than transport patients to hospital. Now emergency care is delivered on the scene by highly-trained paramedics before the patient even gets to hospital. We also have rapid response vehicles and an air ambulance alongside the regular ambulance fleet. The National Emergency Operation Centre being opened today allows our Ambulance Service to operate as a national fleet, rather than in regional divisions. This ensures that the nearest ambulance can get to the patient.”

Damien McCallion, HSE National Director for National Ambulance Service, said; “The opening of the Rivers building today is the result of the vision and hard work of the staff in the National Ambulance Service who have worked hard to deliver the modern facility that we have here.  This will provide enormous benefits to patients, in terms of the co-ordination of a national fleet with the nearest available team responding, and to the staff who work here.”

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Martin Dunne, Director of the National Ambulance Service, said; “I want to thank all who were involved in the move of our services to our new headquarters here in Tallaght.  This is the result of the commitment, dedication, hard work and co-ordination of all involved to realise an infrastructure of sophistication.  We can see the benefits already for patients, with the integrated platform for resource deployment which enables the closest available resource to be dispatched to the call within minutes of receipt of the call.  ”

Cathal O’ Donnell, Medical Director of the National Ambulance Service added , “Moving to this new facility allows us to work on a singular ICT platform and is in line with NAS’s patient safety strategy. It is good for patients and their families and provides additional support to our staff working within NAS through the enhanced training tools and the continued work of the college.”

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Further information

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) is the statutory pre-hospital emergency care provider for the State.  The service delivers pre-hospital care right across the country.  In the Dublin metropolitan area, Ambulance Services which are funded by the HSE are provided by both NAS and Dublin Fire Brigade.

The NAS mission is to serve the needs of patients and the public as part of an integrated health system, through the provision of high quality, safe and patient centred services.  This care begins immediately at the time that the emergency call is received, continues through to the safe treatment and handover of the patient to the clinical team at the receiving hospital or emergency department.

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Serving a population of almost 4.6 million people, the service responds to over 300,000 ambulance calls each year.  The NAS employs over 1,600 staff across 100 locations and has a fleet of approximately 500 vehicles.

In recent years, the NAS has embarked on a strategic investment programme to develop a modern, quality service that is safe, responsive and fit for purpose.  The service is implementing a significant reform agenda which mirrors many of the strategic changes underway in ambulance services internationally as they strive for high performance, efficiency and cope with a continuously increasing demand on services.