Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has highlighted the dangerously long waiting times for ambulance services in the north west region.
Speaking during a dedicated debate in Leinster House requested by Deputy Scanlon he commented, “We urgently need additional ambulance fleets and personnel in the north west in order to reduce response times in the region. People in rural areas are treated deplorably when it comes to access to out-of-hours health services. It is now evident that if more than one emergency arises at a time in the Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon areas, our communities must wait up to two, three or four hours for emergency services.
“We need a new ambulance unit in Carrick-on-Shannon and extra personnel to manage the fleet there. People in rural Ireland are losing confidence in the ambulance service, which is a pity because, as we know, staff are dedicated, committed and very helpful, but stretched beyond their limits.
“Access to out-of-hours health services in County Leitrim is extremely limited. The HSE promised to implement measures in terms of new personnel, ambulances and first responder schemes in Leitrim and north Roscommon as advised by the 2015 capacity review that was published in 2016 for the National Ambulance Service.
“While I understand some new recruits may be incoming to the region it is vital the Minister for Health steps in to ensure lives are not put at risk when ambulances are called for in the north west,” concluded Deputy Scanlon.