A TOW-truck arrived to take a car from the scene of a crash sooner than an ambulance arrived to take away a victim of the collision outside Ardfert on Friday.
It took over 40 minutes for an ambulance to get to the scene of the accident at Tubrid outside Ardfert on Friday evening in the latest lengthy delay reported in the service in the north Kerry area.
Such was the delay that the tow-truck had already loaded the crashed car by the time the ambulance arrived.
One person was hospitalised in Cork following the crash after an ambulance finally arrived at the scene at 5.48pm on Friday. The call-out was logged over 40 minutes earlier, at 5.05pm on Friday, the HSE confirmed to The Kerryman on Tuesday.
The delay was due to the fact that Tralee and Listowel ambulances were on other emergency call-outs at the time. An ambulance had to be dispatched from Killarney, the HSE said.
Sinn Féin County Councillor Toireasa Ferris said she was shocked at the length of time it took before an ambulance got to the crash scene.
"I was shocked to hear these reports. This area is only 10 minutes from Tralee and it shouldn't take an ambulance more than 15 or 20 minutes at most to find," Cllr Ferris said, adding that the ambulance service has been riven with problems in the area since the call centre was moved to Dublin from Kerry earlier in the year.
"It was reported recently that only 65 per cent of 999 calls are meeting the standard response time set out by HIQA, which is 19 minutes. There has been nothing but problems since they closed the ambulance call centre in Kerry and moved it to Dublin earlier this year. That they haven't ironed out any teething problems by now is totally unacceptable," she said.
"People have a right to expect quick response times, particularly in a country as small as ours, but that clearly isn't happening," Cllr Ferris added.
The HSE said that gardaí called the ambulance at 5.05pm. "A NAS emergency ambulance was dispatched from Killarney and arrived on scene at 17.48," a spokesperson said.
"All other emergency resources in Tralee and Listowel were involved in other emergency activity at the time of the call. The patient was brought to Cork University Hospital for treatment."