Man with broken hip faces three-hour wait for ambulance in Ballinskelligs

Sinead Kelleher

A French tourist seriously injured in Ballinskelligs had to wait up to three hours for an ambulance as the only available unit was 100km away in Listowel, it has emerged.

The serious incident unfolded recently when the man fell and broke his hip while visiting local attraction, world famous Ballinskelligs Castle.

A rapid response car was dispatched from Tralee to the scene, arriving about 90 minutes after the call. The Kerryman understands the Listowel ambulance was tasked with the emergency as well, arriving two hours from call-out from its North Kerry base.

The tourist was forced to wait for up to three hours in all before he could be taken to hospital by ambulance. First Responder vehicles are not capable of transporting patients.

The incident has left the community in Ballinskelligs deeply fearful over access to emergency services in the event of an even more serious incident in the future.

Ballinskelligs Inshore Rescue member Declan Kirby, said the unit is very concerned: “It is critical that there is an ambulance in a rural outpost like Ballinskelligs,” he said.

“The whole incident has highlighted the gap that there is in service. It is critical that there is an ambulance in a rural outpost likes Ballinskelligs,” he said.

“Ninety minutes is simply too long. This was a serious incident but what if it was even more serious? This is a horrendous situation to be in. We need to have cover.”

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) confirmed that both a car and ambulance were dispatched to the scene but the ambulance service disputes the length of time vehicles took to reach the scene, contrary to what locals at the scene have stated.