Critical issue

As concern and momentum continues to build amid calls for greater ambulance cover in Inishowen, the National Ambulance Service has yet to comment on their plans for the peninsula.

Over 100 people attended a demonstration at Carndonagh Community Hospital yesterday afternoon, which called for “at least” one more ambulance to be put in place to cover the peninsula. The protest was organised by North Donegal IRSP, whose spokesperson Simon McElroy from Gleneely told the ‘Journal’ they were “not going to stand back and watch people dying due to an inadequate ambulance service.”

He said was “gobsmacked” at the turnout but that it represented how the people of Inishowen want more ambulance cover and “will not settle for second best.”

Concerns were raised last week by County Councillor Martin McDermott over long delays experienced by patients right across Inishowen as the area is only covered by one ambulance ‘24/7.’

Despite these concerns and the protest yesterday, the National Ambulance Service had yesterday not responded to the ‘Journal’s’ queries over the future of the service or the current system in place. Questions were sent to them last Wednesday and followed up on a number of occasions, including yesterday afternoon. But they had not responded at the time of going to press.

Colr. McDermott is due to meet with the NAS and the HSE in the next few weeks to discuss the issue in Inishowen. He said there needs to be at least two ambulances based in Inishowen at any one time and he will be advancing this issue during the meeting.

Regarding yesterday’s demonstration, Mr McElroy said organisers were “delighted” with the turnout and said “everyone wants the same thing.”

He said the issue of ambulance cover in Inishowen is one which has been ongoing for a number of years and the group organised the demonstration in order to move it forward.

Mr. McElroy added that one crew covering Inishowen was “not enough” and said it was “unacceptable” that, when the Carndonagh-based crew was unavailable, an ambulance is then dispatched first from Letterkenny and not Derry, which is many cases is closer.

He pointed out how NowDoc came under threat last year and said health services in Inishowen must be made a priority.

He added that a clear message must be sent out that the people of Inishowen will no longer stand for it and “something must be done.”