Fianna Fáil Deputy Charlie McConalogue has called for a full review of ambulances services in Co Donegal, following the tragic death of a Carndonagh woman after a road accident in late December.
Deputy McConalogue raised a special debate on the issue in the Dáil this week. He questioned the Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch about this specific incident and about the need for a full audit of ambulances services in Donegal and across the country.
The Inishowen Deputy explained, “Maura Porter from Carndonagh was unfortunately the victim of a road traffic accident on the day before New Year’s Eve. It took almost an hour for an ambulance to come to Carndonagh, unfortunately, because it had to be despatched from Letterkenny. No ambulance based in the local ambulance station in Carndonagh and no local crew members were available at that point in time. Local doctors came to the scene, but Maura needed to get to hospital quickly. She died after she got to the hospital. Her family will never know whether it would have made a difference – whether her life could have been saved – if the ambulance service had arrived on time.
“We need to know exactly what happened in this tragic case. We need to know that the victim of a serious accident will not be waiting so long to be brought to hospital again. Unfortunately, similar terrible incidents have happened in other parts of the country when it has taken far too long for an ambulance to get to the scene. It’s importance to say that it’s not the fault of local ambulance workers and emergency staff. They are doing their absolute best with inadequate resources.
“It’s very clear that we need a full review of our ambulance services in Co Donegal and across the country. There are serious gaps in resources that must be addressed. The national guidelines indicate that an ambulance has to be at a scene within 19 minutes. In Mrs Porter’s case, it took an hour. The simple fact is that the nearest available resource was much too far away. Carndonagh ambulance station, which serves the Inishowen Peninsula, was less than half a mile from where Mrs. Porter’s accident took place. It’s the third busiest station in the North West after Sligo and Letterkenny. One ambulance there is not enough – we need two ambulances based there 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 Government is still refusing to commit to a full review of ambulance services. What could be more important than ensuring that our emergency services are equipped to deal with life threatening situations?”