The Health Service Executive (HSE) and the National Ambulance Service (NAS) have refused to answer questions regarding the availability of ambulances and rostering procedure on the day in June when Dundalk man Conor Byrne died tragically.
Three weeks ago, the Democrat revealed that a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) was not available for duty on that day, due to a vacancy in the staff roster.
The HSE admitted that the Rapid Response Vehicle was not rostered for duty on Tuesday 24 June “due to a vacancy on the roster following a staff transfer”.
The vehicle is rostered to work every day and night, except Thursday nights.
However, it was not rostered on Tuesday 24 June, because of the staff transfer.
The Democrat put further questions to the HSE regarding resources, staff transfer and rostering procedures.
The questions included; Can the HSE or NAS confirm when this staff transfer took place? Does the HSE or NAS have a contingency plan in place for when a staff transfer takes place or if a paramedic calls in sick? If there is such a contingency plan? Why was this was plan not implemented on the date in question? Does the HSE or NAS believe that adequate cover was provided on that date?
The HSE refused to answer any of these questions, stating; “The National Ambulance Service will not be commenting further at this time. The National Ambulance Service remains available at all times to discuss issues directly with the family”.
Reacting to the HSE statement, Conor’s sister, Aoife, told The Democrat that the family have “no confidence” in the HSE.
“We are not surprised that the HSE have refused to answer these questions,” said Aoife.
“We still have no confidence in the HSE. Nobody wants to take responsibility.
“It seems that they are trying to hide something. Nobody seems to be accountable.”
The family intend to contact the HSE again to seek answers to their questions.
Cllr Tomás Sharkey said that the Byrne family and the public deserve an explanation.
“We know that the ambulance cover in Louth was short on the 24th of June,” said Cllr Sharkey.
“The promised service was not fully operational.
“The ambulance service is a public service. The public deserve an explanation as to why this happened.
“I am disgusted that an explanation for the lack of service on the day that Conor Byrne died is not forthcoming.
“I formally requested a report at the last Regional Health Forum meeting and will hold management to their obligations to the public.”