SIPTU has written to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, today (Wednesday, 18th May) seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the implementation of the recommendations contained in a capacity review of the National Ambulance Service which was published yesterday. SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “We are looking to speak with the Minister concerning what he intends to do to ensure the €25 million necessary to fund the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report is made available. Only when these recommendations are implemented in full will our communities have the standard of first response medical care that they need and the intolerable ambulance waiting times those living in rural communities currently have to endure will be brought to an end. “SIPTU was the first stakeholder to call for a capacity review of the service in 2014. In recent months, we have fought hard for this review to be published in the public interest. The previous government delayed its publication. This explains why it is dated October 2015 but was only finally published yesterday.” He added: “The review highlights the unacceptable work loads and conditions our members endure due to the National Ambulance Service being understaffed. According to the review, the service needs an additional 461 personnel, which at the current rate of recruitment would take almost five years to achieve. There is also an urgent requirement for 72 vehicles, many of which will be deployed in rural communities.  “Our members are deeply concerned that there has been no comment from the current Government on the urgency of providing funds for the full implementation of the recommendations contained in the report.”