A young woman with a life threatening heart condition waited for one hour and 21 minutes until an ambulance arrived at her house.
The woman was at her home in the Cox’s Demesne area of the town over the festive season when she suddenly took ill from a heart condition on 28 December 2013.
The young woman’s mother immediately phoned for an ambulance at 17.24. The ambulance crew arrived at the scene at 18.45, one hour and twenty minutes after the call.
The National Ambulance Service (NAS) confirmed the timing of the call and the response to the paper.
In an interview with The Dundalk Democrat, Fine Gael vdeputy Peter Fitzpatrick said that this waiting time was “not acceptable” and has brought the matter to the attention of Minister for Health James Reilly.
“This length of response is not acceptable,” deputy Fitzpatrick said. “It’s vitally important that we have a rapid response time.
“In 2013, the local ambulance service had a 70 per cent compliance in response time. This year the target has been increased to 80 per cent compliance response time.
“I’ve discussed these matters with Minister Reilly and look forward to the HIQA’s investigating into the ambulance service in this area.
“Frontline services is the most important and that keeps the entire system running. We need to continue to improve the services.”
Meanwhile, The Dundalk Democrat has obtained figures regarding the number of ambulances on duty at any one time within the local area. The ambulance service works on an area and national basis as opposed to a local basis. The nearest appropriate resource is mobilised to the location of any incident.
In Dundalk, there are two ambulances on duty during the day between Monday and Sunday. There are three ambulances on Mondays and Thursdaya. There are two ambulances at night between Monday and Sunday. There is one intermediate care vehicle (ICV) available between Monday and Friday during the day.
In Ardee one ambulance is available during day, expect Monday. There is also one available every night of the week. A rapid response unit is available all the time expect during the night on Thursday. There are 3 ICV’s available during the week and one during Saturday and Sunday.
In Castleblayney, there is one ambulance available during the day time throughout the week except Saturday. There is one available all week and night. There are two ICV available during the day between Monday to Friday and one available on Saturday.