Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has once again expressed concern about ambulance provision and response times across the two counties.

New information released to Deputy Smyth reveal that there are only 4 ambulances available across Cavan and Monaghan on Saturdays, compared to 9 ambulances or care vehicles during the week, and 6 vehicles on Sundays.

The data also found that 40% of DELTA (life threatening other than cardiac/respiratory arrest) call outs are not meeting the 19 minute response times.

“I have been raising concerns about the level of ambulance provision across Cavan and Monaghan for some time and this latest information from the HSE does nothing to allay my fears.  While I recognise the fact that services are reduced at the weekend, I am very worried about the provision for Saturdays.  There are only 2 ambulances available at the two stations in Cavan and Monaghan.  None are available in Virginia or Castleblayney.  The intermediate care vehicle in Castleblayney is also unavailable at the weekends”, said Deputy Smyth.

“This leaves large parts of Cavan and Monaghan without adequate cover.  We have already have had serious incidents and deaths in the past number of years because ambulances were unavailable for call outs and I am very worried that this could happen again.

“The response times speak for themselves.  Between 65% and 88% of ECHO (Life threatening cardiac/respiratory arrest) calls are meeting the 19 minute response target, however, almost 40% of DELTA (life threatening other than cardiac/respiratory arrest) call outs are missing the target time.  This is simply not acceptable and it is putting lives at risk.

“I am once again urging Minister Simon Harris to examine ambulance provision across the North East.  Unlike, Dublin and other urban centres, we are dealing with large rural areas, with, in some cases, dangerous back roads, and therefore can take crews longer to reach their destination.  I believe we need more response vehicles allocated to the region without delay”.