Independent investigation needed into Louth ambulance delays – Coffey

Published on: 05 November 2015

Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Louth Emma Coffey is calling on the Government to establish an independent investigation into ongoing ambulance delays in Louth.

Ms Coffey made the call following the revelation that a young dad bled to death while waiting for the arrival of an emergency ambulance. It took some 40 minutes for the ambulance to arrive at the scene.

“I want to send my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and loved ones of Dualtagh Donnelly. The details of this tragic accident are horrifying and illustrate the devastating impact that cutbacks to the health service are having on communities across Louth,” said Ms Coffey.

“The National Ambulance Service sets out a targeted response time of 19 minutes for the arrival of an ambulance to an emergency call. In this case it took the ambulance twice as long to arrive at the scene. Serious questions have to be asked why this occurred.

“I have no doubt that ambulance staff are under resourced and overstretched.  The Government is expecting them to do an impossible job when you consider the cutbacks that have been imposed at the National Ambulance Service in recent years.  The quality of the ambulance fleet is deteriorating significantly with vehicles being kept on the road for longer periods of time. This is leading to an increase in mechanical failures which in turn is having an impact on response times. The Government is also failing to put the required number of new ambulance vehicles into operation to ensure there is adequate coverage around the country, particularly in rural areas.

“Dualtagh was only a five minute drive from the Dundalk ambulance depot when his partner made a call to the emergency services. The fact that it took 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive clearly shows that there simply are not enough ambulances in operation in Louth.

“Fianna Fáil is calling for an independent investigation into the circumstances of this tragic incident. Dulatagh’s family deserve to know exactly the circumstances of what happened. Communities across Louth need reassurance that such an incident will not happen in the future, and having a properly independent investigation is the best way of understanding what exactly needs to be done to prevent a repeat of this terrible tragedy, said Ms Coffey.

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