Adams Calls For More Answers on Ambulance Service in Louth

Investigation needed in North East Region

Investigation needed in North East Region

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised in the Dáil the fatal stabbing of Wayne McQuillan on News Years morning in Drogheda and the response of the ambulance service.

Teachta Adams has called for the Minister for Health to ask HIQA “to carry out a thorough investigation into the resourcing, structure and management systems of the Ambulance Service in the north east region.” He also asked that “any investigation by HIQA is carried out in consultation with those frontline staff in our ambulance service who work long hours and provide a remarkable service, often with inadequate resources.”

Teachta Adams has also submitted a series of Parliamentary Questions on the issue.

The Sinn Féin leader said: “Wayne McQuillan was stabbed in the early hours of New Year’s Day in the Rathmullan Park area of Drogheda. I want to extend condolences and sympathies to his family.

According to the National Ambulance Service the nearest available ambulance to respond was in Ardee and took 21 minutes to arrive at the scene. This falls outside the National Service Plan 2014 target which is 19 minutes.

By this stage the Gardaí had already decided to move Mr. McQuillan to Our Lady of Lourdes. Regrettably Mr. McQuillan died.

The actual time between the first call being received, the ambulance being dispatched, and arriving at the scene was 25 minutes – six minutes over the standard set by the Service Plan. The decision by the NAS to only start the clock ticking from the time that an ambulance is dispatched distorts the real picture.

I also understand that an ambulance was available on New Year’s morning in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital but was not dispatched. The Minister failed to answer this question.

On Monday of this week there was another serious incident involving a woman who had collapsed outside Dunnes Stores on West Street in Drogheda.

The Drogheda ambulance had earlier been dispatched to Navan to provide cover. However there was a local crew already available in Navan. There was also a second crew from Dunshaughlin and an emergency response vehicle, also in Navan.

Why was the Drogheda crew dispatched to Navan? The Minister failed to answer this question.

As a consequence it had to travel back to Drogheda to respond to the emergency call which took more than 30 minutes.

Minister, these difficulties are not the fault of the ambulance staff and emergency services.

First responders are deeply frustrated at the conditions under which they are expected to provide this vital service to the public, including the numbers of available ambulances; their location and the arrangements for the rostering of staff.

It has also been revealed in the weeks since Wayne McQuillan died that in this state we have one paramedic to almost 4,000 people –in the north and in Scotland – it is paramedic to 1500 citizens.

I welcome the fact that HIQA has agreed to carry out an investigation into the New Year Drogheda incident.

However, HIQA should now carry out a thorough investigation into the resourcing, structure and management systems of the Ambulance Service in the north east region. It should also consult with those frontline staff in our ambulance service who work long hours and provide a remarkable service, often with inadequate resources.”