An incident where a stroke patient was left waiting over two hours for an ambulance to arrive has been described by Cllr Paddy Farrell as “simply not good enough.”
Speaking at Monday's Council meeting, Cllr Farrell highlighted the issue of response times for ambulances.
He said he has been contacted by a number of people who have experienced lengthy waits for ambulances to respond to calls.
“I'm on the health forum and I get a lot of calls regarding issues with ambulance services in Leitrim,” he said.
“I know of a severe stroke victim who was left waiting over two hours for an ambulance to arrive. That is not good enough.”
Cllr Farrell stressed that the ambulance staff serving the community “are excellent” but said that it “is the system that they are working in that is the problem.”
At Monday's meeting he called for Leitrim County Council to contact the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and urge him to take action on improving ambulance services in Leitrim.
His motion received unanimous backing from other councillors. Cllr Felim Gurn said he was aware of an incident where a patient in Manorhamilton was waiting over an hour and a half for an ambulance.
“We used to have an ambulance base in Manorhamilton and that worked much better (than the existing setup),” he said.
Cllr Sean McDermott agreed noting that “something has to be done.”
Pointing out “two major issues” with the service, Cllr Brendan Barry said there are insufficient ambulances servicing this area.
“There are instances where the ambulance based in Carrick-on-Shannon could be in Mayo when someone in Leitrim rings for an ambulance,” he pointed out.
He said another issue is that there are delays in getting people from the ambulance into hospitals.
Cllr Des Guckian agreed, noting that while ambulance staff are “brilliant” in their care of patients, Emergency Departments in Sligo University Hospital need to be enlarged and more staff needs to be employed to speed up the admission process from ambulances. This, he said, would free ambulances to respond to more calls.
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