East Cork Councillor Hits Out at Unacceptable Ambulance Waiting Times

By Seamus Whelehan


Councillor Mary Linehan Foley has hit out at unacceptable ambulance waiting times in East Cork.
The issue is to be raised with HSE bosses at next month’s southern regional health board committee.
The independent Cllr told the Cork County Council executive on Monday 8 January how she waited 3 hours for an ambulance and a further 2 and a half hours before being assessed in hospital following a serious fall.
The Cllr slipped and fell in a café in her home town of Youghal around 12:00 noon Christmas week.
A first responder attended the incident and suspected, she had sustained a broken hip and then called for an ambulance crew to attend at 12:10pm. The paramedic crew did not arrive at the scene until 3:00pm.
The 50 year old is now demanding answers into the delay stating people’s lives are being put in danger.
The Youghal based Cllr said “paramedics are pressed to the pin of their collar” by not recruiting enough staff and failing to authorise enough paid overtime, the service is leaving hundreds of hours uncovered.
She said currently ambulances are taking up to two and a half hours before they are released back into service as they are stuck at hospitals because of overcrowded A&E’s.
“I can understand if the ambulance had to attend more serious cases. An hour is acceptable, but not 3 hours, this is not good enough. This has to be highlighted, there are people’s lives in danger. If I had to wait 3 hours for an ambulance to come from Waterford city, there is someone else who had to wait the same length elsewhere.”
Independent Cllr Noel Collins said “it is a life and death situation and every effort should be made to improve services.”
Independent Cllr Danny Collins said “we need more ambulances on the road and we need more ambulance crew before this is addressed.
In 2012 the HSE made changes to the National Ambulance service designed to modernise the delivery of pre-hospital emergency care services in Cork and Kerry.
The ambulance service remained in Youghal while the Midleton unit was replaced with a first responder paramedic car, manned by a medical technician around the clock.
Cllr Paul Hayes said “there are 14 ambulances serving city and county that can end up anywhere.
The Sinn Féin Cllr said he was made aware recently of a situation where the ambulance in Skibbereen was sent to Whitegate and later redeployed to an incident in the City, resulting in the crew being away from base for hours on end, leading to driver fatigue.