Donegal Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has raised the issue of the urgent need for a second ambulance to cover South West Donegal, covering the area from Inver Bridge to Glencolmcille, in addition to providing cover for the parish of Ardara.
At present, just one ambulance covers the region and communities have raised concerns with delays in call outs.
Deputy Gallagher says that cover ambulances have had to be despatched from either Letterkenny, Dungloe or even Ballyshannon to take patients from South West Donegal to hospital on a number of occasions. This has led to time delays of an hour or more in cases.
“This is a vast geographical area, with many parts of these communities isolated and far removed from the nearest University Hospital, and as we are all aware, time for emergency call outs is critical and of the essence to safeguard patients recovery,” Deputy Gallagher said.
“It is self-evident that there are inherent and clear dangers with the under servicing of Southwest Donegal, with only one ambulance crew covering southwest Donegal it is impossible to provide the service which is directed under the national guidelines for call out times, secondly there is no second call out team based within the locality,” he said.
“The current ambulance crews are providing an excellent service; the issue here is the gross under funding of the service providing cover for this area, at present only one ambulance covers this entire area.”
Deputy Gallagher said there are areas of serious concern without a second call-out team and called for government action on the issue.
“Unfortunately the Government are not listening to the concerns of the general public or communities within southwest Donegal, previous political promises for a second ambulance have mounted to nothing.
“It is not acceptable that such a reduced service level continues to be provided for south west Donegal, this matter requires immediate action by both the National Ambulance Service and the Government,” concluded Deputy Gallagher.