Ambulance response defended

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editorial image

The National Ambulance Service is satisfied that the nearest available ambulance was dispatched to the scene of the road collision that killed a Donegal pensioner.

Maura Porter died on December 30th following a road accident near her Carndonagh home and close to the local ambulance station.

The HSE said the ambulance based in Carndonagh was on a call at the time and two ambulances and a rapid response vehicle were despatched from Letterkenny. Her family say that it took 50 minutes for an ambulance dispatched from Letterkenny to reach her. She died after reaching Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

Speaking in the Dáil, Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch, said the ambulance service is satisfied the call was triaged correctly and that the nearest available resource was dispatched. She added that measures have been put in place to improve ambulance responses. “This process will ensure that where necessary, national ambulance service resources are diverted to other appropriate destinations to minimise impact on patients, the national ambulance service and the hospital,” she said.

The comments were made after Fianna Fáil Donegal North East TD Charlie McConalogue raised the case in the Dáil. He called for a full review of the service to ensure ambulances are available when they are needed. “It is the wish of the Porter family that no other family will ever have to go through what they experienced on the Monday night in question,” he said.

“It’s very clear that we need a full review of our ambulance services in County Donegal and across the country. We need to ensure that two ambulances are available so that if one is called away and a second call comes in, it is responded to immediately. We cannot allow such an incident to happen again. The national guidelines indicate that an ambulance has to be at a scene within 19 minutes, which is the target. In this particular incident it took almost an hour. The public need to have confidence that this cannot happen again. The service level needs to be in place in order that this family can at least have the comfort of knowing that this will not happen to any other family.


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