€6m national ambulance base planned for Drimnagh
DUBLIN is to get a new €6m national ambulance base in Drimnagh.
The HSE has lodged an application with the city council's planning department to build the facility at Davitt Road.
Dublin is the latest part of the country to see a change in how ambulance services are organised.
The planned construction of the new National Children's Hospital at St James' Hospital means the ambulance facility there will have to close.
A facility once planned for Cherry Orchard has now also been incorporated into the Davitt Road facility, according to the HSE.
With space for 38 ambulances, motorcycles and paediatric ambulances and rapid response vehicles, the site is in line with the National Ambulance Service's (NAS) strategy to streamline how it works.
Under new plans, purpose-built sites will be located near clusters of acute hospitals rather than at single facilities.
The Davitt Road site is close to St James' hospital, the Coombe and Our Lady's in Crumlin. It also has speedy access to the M50, the N4 and the N7.
It is hoped this will allow for quicker transfer of patients in Dublin. The five-hectare site is on the former Unilever land and is owned by the HSE.
Contractors are currently being sought through the Government's tendering process.
It is expected that the works will take 12 months to complete.
Last year, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) released a scathing review of the ambulance services in the capital, which focused on the lack of co-ordination between Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) and the NAS.
It also criticised response times to emergency calls.
The report has resulted in plans for the dispatch of Dublin Fire Brigade ambulances to be merged with the HSE.
Health Minister Leo Varadker has defended the planned move, saying the interests of those who need ambulances must come first.
He also said no DFB ambulances would be put out of commission if the changes were implemented.
Last year, the NAS responded to 53,941 call-outs in the Dublin region, around 10,000 fewer than the DFB.