News that a local man was left waiting for an hour and six minutes at the side of the road for an ambulance following a road traffic accident is just the latest in a series of instances when seriously ill people have been left without vital ambulance services, claims Denis Naughten TD.
“The local ambulance service based in Roscommon Town and covering the majority of County Roscommon remains over stretched and this is putting lives at an unnecessary risk,” stated Denis Naughten.
“At present on most days, two of the three existing Roscommon Town based ambulances spend most of their time outside of County Roscommon, responding to emergencies elsewhere.
“While the three ambulances are based in Roscommon Town, once they get called to an emergency and transport that patient to either Mayo or Galway, they normally spend most of the rest of the shift responding to emergencies in that county.
“To compound the problem the only official national ambulance black spot in the country without an ambulance is Loughglynn, which services a population of 30,000 people in West Roscommon and East Mayo. In the majority of instances, it is the Roscommon Town based ambulances that respond to these emergencies.
“We also have the bizarre situation that the ambulance crew cannot bring a patient to Roscommon Hospital even when it is crystal clear that they can be safely treated at the hospital. Instead they are forced to travel an extra 40 minutes to Ballinasloe which ties up that ambulance for at least 1.5 hours.”
He added: “The Prime Time report on the ambulance service last year exposed the fact that on 10 of the 14 days analysed by the programme County Roscommon was left without any ambulance for at least two hours. It was concluded by an expert in ambulance deployment that County Roscommon had inadequate ambulance cover.
“At present over a 14 day period we have the equivalent of one full day when there is no ambulance cover whatsoever available within the County. On some occasions we have to wait for an ambulance to come from Galway City to respond to a local life threatening emergency.
“It is also important to remember that while the air ambulance is an excellent service, it cannot be called until a paramedic in an ambulance arrives at the scene of the emergency, and of course it is not allowed to fly at night, which causes huge problems during the winter months,” concluded Denis Naughten.