Serious concerns have been raised over ambulance availability at Letterkenny University Hospital amid claims that a patient, located five minutes from the hospital, was deceased when ambulance personnel arrived after an hour.
Councillors Ciaran Brogan and Gerry Crawford, members of the Western Regional Health Forum, have called for urgent action.
“Recently a family waited for an hour for an ambulance to arrive and unfortunately the patient was deceased. We want to make sure it doesn’t happen to any other family or patient,” Councillors Brogan and Crawford say in a statement to this week’s Tirconaill Tribune.
“In this particular instance an ambulance was called to a location just five minutes away from Letterkenny Hospital. There was no ambulance available from LUH and the nearest available one was in Dungloe.
“And by the time it had arrived in Letterkenny a Sligo ambulance that had become available in Letterkenny was dispatched to do the call and unfortunately the patient was deceased.”
The Councillors are seeking a meeting between ambulance management and senior officials at LUH.
Currently, there are two ambulances on duty each night from LUH.
Councillors Brogan and Crawford said: “One of the problems is that if any of these ambulances gets a call out they arrive at A& E and can be delayed there for hours depending on how busy it is.
“We have evidence that in some cases, five hours and there was even one kept waiting for seven hours. That is no reflection on the staff at A&E or the ambulance crews who both are doing excellent work under stressful circumstances.
“It means that at least one of the ambulances on call can be delayed for a long time when it might be needed elsewhere. It can lead to huge delays and there doesn’t appear to be a proper back-up plan in place.
“We need to have additional ambulance crews in place to meet these needs and the hospital needs to be adequately resourced.
“The current model being used by ambulance service is simply not working and a new strategy has to be devised.
“There is something seriously wrong with a system when staff can be on duty for close to twenty-four hours. The situation as it stands is just not workable and we have ambulances from Boyle, County Roscommon, going to answer call outs in Ballyshannon, an ambulance travelling from Monaghan to Buncrana, another one going from Manorhamilton to Bridgend, and one going from Killybegs to Killygordon.”
The Donegal County Councillors say that crews at the ambulance base in Letterkenny are ‘at the end of their tether’.Tags: