Date Published : October 18th, 2014 Published By : adminA County Wicklow Councillor is claiming that people in West Wicklow are being left ‘completely exposed and at risk’ as Ambulance cover from Baltinglass is being diverted to incidents in Kildare and Dublin, leaving a large area exposed with no Ambulance cover.
The HSE National Ambulance Service based at Baltinglass serves many of the surrounding towns, villages and rural areas of the South, South West and Western areas of the garden county.
The claims come following two recent incidents which Councillor Cullen has called into question, about the ambulance service being provided to the Baltinglass ambulance area. He said it is not acceptable that the service is diverted to other areas.
“The Baltinglass ambulance service already has a huge area to cover, from south Wicklow all the way through to Baltinglass and up to Blessington. Lives will be put in danger if they are also expected now to cover Dublin and Kildare, who already have four times our amount of ambulance services. The population here in west Wicklow is being left completely exposed. It is not acceptable to have our service diverted up to Maynooth, other parts of County Kildare and areas in Dublin”.
The Independent Councillor outlined one recent incident in which an elderly man who suffered a stroke had to be transported to hospital by the Fire Services, as according to Cllr Cullen, the ambulance which was called for him took too long to arrive. A defibrillator also had to be borrowed from a local establishment as the fire engines don't carry the device.
Councillor Tommy Cullen said 'It is not the job of fire-fighters to be paramedics. I dread to think what might have happened to this man if it wasn't for the quick thinking of the fire fighters. It's the second time an incident like this has happened. The fact is a quick and speedy ambulance service to rural areas is essential. You are talking about a matter of life or death.'
In a second incident, Cullen claims that a 10 year old boy who broke his leg was forced to wait for an ambulance which was delayed because it had to come from north Kildare. He said he is not blaming or criticising the ambulance crew themselves. 'It seems pretty clear that the two Baltinglass ambulances have been diverted to cover Kildare and Dublin as well. I'm not criticising the ambulance crew or staff. They are doing an excellent job in very trying circumstances. However, I do think that we are being neglected, I am calling for a special meeting on the matter and want an explanation.'
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Published 18.10.14 at 1100hrs