A “very productive” meeting over the future of the ambulance service in Inishowen has taken place between the HSE, the National Ambulance Service, Donegal County Councillor Martin McDermott and Deputy Charlie McConalogue.
Councillor McDermott had requested the meeting with the bodies following concerns over a number of long delays experienced by patients in Inishowen in waiting for an ambulance.
Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Councillor McDermott said it was acknowledged that there were issues with delays in ambulance cover in Inishowen and this will now be assessed in greater detail by the NAS.
He said he and Deputy McConalogue put a number of points to those at the meeting in relation to the level of service in the peninsula and they “took these on board.”
He added that he sought further information in relation to the number of ambulance call-outs in Inishowen and how many times an ambulance has been dispatched from Letterkenny to Inishowen when the Carndonagh-based ambulance was unavailable due to being on a call.
Councillor McDermott said this information is due to be furnished to him and will be instrumental in “making a case” as to the correct approach in ensuring the area is adequately covered by the ambulance service.
Councillor McDermott said representatives from both bodies did understand that Inishowen was quite a remote area and many people live a great distance away from Letterkenny General Hospital. He said that while the peninsula was covered 24/7 by Carndonagh, there was a “three-hour turnaround” at least when the ambulance left the base, from the time it was dispatched and the time it returned.
Colr McDermott said that while other areas had issues with time delay, they were not as far away from a hospital.