Agonising hour long wait for ambulance

Published 09/06/2016 | 00:00

Ambulances on standby.
Ambulances on standby.

A WEXFORD man spent almost an hour lying in agony on a road after being knocked down by a car 'two minutes' from the town's ambulance station.

An emergency first responder, who came upon the accident, said he had been told the Wexford ambulance was attending an incident in Passage East when the Wexford accident took place at around 5 p.m. last Tuesday.

As a result an ambulance from Waterford was dispatched to Wexford, but eventually an ambulance from Enniscorthy was the first to arrive at the scene in Ashfield Drive, and took the man to hospital almost an hour after the first emergency call was made.

When the Enniscorthy ambulance became available, the one from Waterford was turned around.

The man suffered head, eye and shoulder injuries in the accident, but the responder who was there was unable to give him any medication.

'I have no legal right to give him anything, not even a Paracetamol for the pain, despite the pain and distress he was in,' said the man, who asked not to be identified. He said he left the scene of the accident close to the corner of Ashfield Drive and Belvedere Grove, after two off-duty paramedics and the Enniscorthy ambulance arrived.

'I don't blame the ambulance crews, but the HSE which thinks it's acceptable to leave Wexford with such a low level of cover.'

A woman who witnesssed the accident described as 'disgraceful' said the long delay in the ambulance arriving.

'I don't know why it took so long, they are only two minutes away,' she said, 'it was very distressing.'

The HSE said it was 58 minutes from the time the first emergency call was made to the man being admitted to Wexford General Hospital.

It said the first emergency call was received at 4.54 p.m. on Tuesday. The call was triaged using the Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System (AMPDS) and the nearest available ambulance - based in Waterford - was allocated and went mobile at 4.57 p.m.

At 5.34 p.m. an ambulance became available at Wexford General Hospital and was immediately dispatched and arrived on scene at 5.36 p.m. The patient was treated at the scene and transported to Wexford General Hospital arriving at 5.52 p.m., it said.

The HSE did not respond to a question from this newspaper about whether the level of coverage was considered adequate considering the long time spent getting the man to hospital.

Wexford's Mayor Cllr Ger Carthy, who is an emergency paramedic, said that what had happened was not acceptable, and blamed the government for under-funding the ambulance service.

'If the government don't invest in the Wexford- and national ambulance service, this is going to happen again and again,' he said.

Wexford People

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