The National Ambulance Service is playing Russia roulette with people’s lives in Kerry, says Senator Mark Daly.

Senator Daly said that in a study of over 500 emergency calls in Kerry, it took twice or even three times as long to respond, compared to the time recommended by the HSE.

Figures released by the HSE on foot of pressure from Senator Daly have revealed that every day in Kerry a critically ill patent could be waiting up to an hour for an ambulance. The response time released shows that in some emergency cases it takes three times longer to reach the patient judged against the recommended target set by the HSE.

He commented: “In Kerry the HSE has removed the second emergency ambulance from Killarney and prior to that the emergency ambulance from Millstreet was also removed, which covered South and East Kerry as well Killarney.  This is the reason why the response times are so bad.

“The decision to remove the second emergency ambulance from Killarney may lead to people dying unnecessarily in Kerry. It also means that those who suffer strokes and heart attacks are not getting treatment immediately, therefore they stay longer in hospitals and need more help in recovery and more care in the long term, which is ultimately costing more to the state and the patient. These figures confirm what I have been demanding: that the second emergency ambulance must be returned to the Killarney and the South Kerry areas immediately, at the moment the HSE is playing Russia roulette with people’s lives in Kerry.”

Senator Daly raised this issue with the Minister for Health during a Seanad debate on the health service.