A WEST Cork Sinn Féin councillor has described how her family were told that Lissarda ‘wasn’t on the system’ when they called an ambulance for her uncle.
Cllr Rachel McCarthy told her fellow councillors on Monday about her uncle who felt unwell due to an aneurysm at Lissarda in November.
‘They rang an ambulance and were told that Lissarda wasn’t on their system. It’s not a small place – it’s on the N22 between Cork and Killarney,’ said Cllr McCarthy.
‘The ambulance did eventually arrive, but it was a life and death situation. We should bring HSE officials into the chamber here for a discussion as I think it would be much better.’
Cllr McCarthy – who is also chairperson of the Bandon Kinsale Municipal District – joined the debate on the ambulance service at Monday’s Cork County Council meeting.
As a result, councillors have now called on the HSE to explain to them why there aren’t enough ambulances available to cover emergencies in the county. The issue arose under ‘any other business’ when Youghal-based Cllr Mary Linehan Foley (Ind) described her three-hour wait for an ambulance after falling in a café in Youghal just before Christmas.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) pointed out that there are only 14 ambulances serving the entire city and county, and he said he knew of one case where an ambulance crew from Skibbereen were sent to an emergency in Whitegate in East Cork, and were then called to another incident in Cork city, which meant they were out of West Cork for several hours.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) suggested that some ambulances should be on motorbikes as they can get to people more quickly and that this is being done in England.
‘The ambulance service is only as good as what’s put into it and it’s down to a lack of funding. There’s €15bn going into the HSE and the ambulance service is a shambles,’ said Cllr Murphy.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) gave an example of one constituent in West Cork waiting two hours for an ambulance.