Tuesday 16 January 2018

No ambulance cover for Duhallow as vehicle is dispatched to Dublin

DUHALLOW was left without local ambulance cover on Saturday night after Kanturk ambulance was dispatched to Dublin with a seriously ill patient and the Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) based in Millstreet was sent to cover a shift in Clonakilty.

"The people of Duhallow would have to depend on ambulance cover from Mallow and Macroom and if that failed, then it's Cork city and Kerry or God knows where else," a HSE employee told The Corkman.

The HSE employee said it would be "some task" for any ambulance from Mallow, Macroom, Cork city or Kerry to reach a life threatening emergency within the required time frame of 19 minutes and 59 seconds.

"As far as the HSE are concerned once a call out is reached within that time frame, they consider their job is done. However, where they are failing miserably is that an ambulance rarely, if ever reaches a call out within the 19 minutes and 59 seconds," said the HSE employee.

It is understood the Kanturk ambulance took a patient from Kildorrery to Dublin for a heart transplant at approximately 10.30pm on Saturday night. Also on Saturday night at 10.30pm, the RRV in Millstreet was sent 45 miles away to Clonakilty to cover a shift there.

On Sunday night the Kanturk ambulance was again away from its Duhallow base, attending to a patient with a broken leg at Cork airport .

"The people who need the ambulance service are being forgotten. It's also very stressful for the paramedics on the ground who fails to reach these unattainable targets," the HSE source said, adding that morale is at "rock bottom".

Millstreet had a 24 hour ambulance cover but this was cut two years ago and replaced with an RRV service.

The ambulance service in North Cork responds to over 500 calls per month. However, from January 2013 until January 2014, the number of 999 calls has jumped from 47% to a staggering 75%.

The Corkman was informed that the jump in calls is partly due to ambulances from North Cork responding to incidents outside of the normal catchment areas, following the introduction of the new, Dublin-based, National Control and Command Centres.


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