Ambulance service a cause of serious concern – Moynihan

Published 27/03/2014 | 05:26

PEOPLE need to have faith in their ambulance service but this is not the case in rural Cork, where delays in response times, breakdowns and ambulances simply going to the wrong place are causes for serious concern.

That's the view of Cork North West TD Michael Moynihan, who has expressed his concern about the safety and effectiveness of the ambulance service in Cork.

He said there have been a number of potentially dangerous incidents in the city and county over the past year following the centralisation of the ambulance service.

The latest occurred earlier this month, when an ambulance sent to transfer a sick toddler from Cork University Hospital to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin broke down near Mitchelstown. A second ambulance sent to complete the transfer also experienced mechanical difficulties, with reports claiming the vehicle "limped back to Dublin".

"In May last year, the National Ambulance Service control operations in Cork and Kerry were transferred to Townsend Street in Dublin. Since then we've seen the service in Cork suffer," said Deputy Moynihan.

"Issues with the service have been widely reported, from ambulances being sent to the wrong address, to ambulances being stood down because of communication problems. These problems are leading to significant delays and are putting people's lives at risk", said Deputy Moynihan.

"I've received calls from constituents, worried about the ambulance service in the area. Resources are being stretched to the limit and services are suffering.

"Millstreet has already lost an ambulance, which has been replaced with a rapid response vehicle. These first responders are designed to arrive before the ambulance, but they are not a replacement or an alternative. There are now real fears that other towns will see their service downgraded", added the Cork North West TD.

"People need to have faith in their ambulance service, and that's simply not the case.

Deputy Moynihan said the health minister needs to take ownership of the situation and ensure that our ambulance service is fit for purpose.

Corkman

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