Loughglynn, East Mayo/West Roscommon – Ireland’s only blackspot without an ambulance

In Health, West-Roscommon by Denis Naughten

ATTZ8IUJHSE must deliver HIQA recommended ambulance to East Mayo/West Roscommon – Naughten
Local TD Denis Naughten has written to the HSE Chief Executive, Tony O’Brien demanding that a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week ambulance be provided to Loughglynn to service the West Roscommon and East Mayo area.

“West Roscommon/East Mayo is now the only official ambulance coverage blackspot in the whole Country without an ambulance. This lead to a recommendation in a HIQA report last November calling for an ambulance to be allocated to the area without delay” said Denis Naughten

He pointed out that the Ambulance Review Report released by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) last November described Loughglynn and West Roscommon/East Mayo as being one of three ‘well-known ambulance blackspot areas’ that ‘remain without a dedicated ambulance resource’.

“The other two ambulance blackspots, Tuam & Mulranny, were allocated a dedicated ambulance with paramedic staff permanently appointed to the stations earlier this year. So why has Loughglynn being short changed?” queried Denis Naughten.

“Bizarrely the National Ambulance Service cannot provide even a single sheet of paper to support its decision to drop Loughglynn in preference to the Mulranny base”.

“This is even more bizarre when one analyses the decision made by the National Ambulance Service to provide an ambulance to a population of 8,788 within 25 minutes of Mulranny, Co. Mayo in advance of the provision of an ambulance to a population of 29,680 within 25 minutes of Loughglynn, Co. Roscommon including an international airport at Knock”.

“Delays in responding to life-threatening 999 calls in East Mayo and West Roscommon with further delays in getting to hospital, puts patients at a far higher risk of dying or having serious long term complications as well as delayed discharges from hospital which puts further pressure on acute hospital budgets”.

“The people of West Roscommon & East Mayo have played ambulance roulette for long enough and I now hope that they get a dedicated 24 hour a day service as part of the 2016 budget” concluded Denis Naughten.

ENDS.

Editor’s note: Letter from Denis Naughten to Mr. Tony O’Brien

1st November 2015

Mr. Tony O’Brien, CEO
Health Service Executive
Dublin


Dear Mr. O’Brien,

I am writing to you in relation to the 2016 Service Plan which you are presently drafting, seeking the inclusion of a staffing provision to cover the opening of the ambulance station at Loughglynn, Co. Roscommon on a 24 hour, 7 day a week basis.

As you will be aware the Loughglynn ambulance station covering West Roscommon & East Mayo is now the only official national ambulance coverage black spot which does not have an ambulance and crew appointed to it.

Last year the HSE Service Plan allocated a dedicated ambulance to the other two national blackspots, namely Tuam & Mulranny and I now believe that it is imperative that Loughglynn become fully operational, especially in light of the Prime Time report on ambulance response times to life threatening emergencies in counties Roscommon, Galway & Mayo.

The Prime Time programme in 2014, as you will recall, exposed the fact that there was a complete depletion of the ambulance service in County Roscommon for extended periods of 2 hrs on the 10 out of 14 days it analysed.
An expert in the provision of ambulance services commenting on this said that such incidents should be rare and that this statistic pointed to the fact that there were “too little resource” available to the people of County Roscommon.

Our ambulance service is operating on a knife edge, and while I welcome the decision to allocate a new ambulance to Tuam & Mulranny earlier this year, I cannot understand why Loughglynn was excluded.
It seems that the National Ambulance Service cannot explain this decision either, as it has failed to provide even a single page of documentary evidence to support the exclusion of West Roscommon & East Mayo from the 2015 Service Plan.
This is even more bizarre when one analyses the decision made by the National Ambulance Service to provide an ambulance to a population of 8,788 within 25 minutes of Mulranny, Co. Mayo in advance of the provision of an ambulance to a population of 29,680 within 25 minutes of Loughglynn, Co. Roscommon including an international airport at Knock.

I would also point out that HIQA in its report on the National Ambulance Service last year recommended that all three ambulance bases at Tuam, Mulranny & Loughglynn have an ambulance provided to them without delay.
Delays in responding to life-threatening 999 calls and further delays in getting to hospital, puts patients at a far higher risk of dying or having serious long term complications as well as delayed discharges from hospital which puts further pressure on acute hospital budgets.

I understand to effectively operate the station, 10 whole time equivalent paramedics need to be appointed to Loughglynn ambulance base and I hope that the funding is ring-fenced in the 2016 service plan to achieve this objective.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Denis Naughten TD

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