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Anger as elderly person forced to wait hours for ambulance to arrive to Laois home

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley says the fact that an elderly person had to wait two hours for an ambulance to arrive in Clonaslee is appalling and a totally unacceptable situation.

“Human life is being put at risk with delays like this.”

The incident happened on December 27 where the elderly Clonaslee person had to wait two hours for the ambulance to arrive after they took ill at home.

Two phone calls were made, the first was made to 999 at 12:41pm and just over an hour later at 13:44pm a second 999 call was made. However an ambulance did not arrive until 14.38pm, a total of one hour and fifty seven minutes later.

Records of these telephone calls were given by the elderly person’s neighbour who came to their assistance at the time.

According to Mr Stanley, no advanced paramedic arrived either. The ambulance had to come from Mullingar as none were available in Laois. It apparently was delayed due to waiting at the hospital to transfer a patient to an Emergency Department (ED).

When the Clonaslee resident was eventually brought to Tullamore Hospital there was a queue of ambulances waiting to offload patients to ED.

Another constituent from Borris in Ossory area has reported to Brian Stanley that it took 2.5 hours for an ambulance to arrive to a member of his family on January 4. This ambulance travelled from Athlone.

Mr Stanley said: “I have highlighted many times the fact that there is a shortage of ambulances in Laois and the Midlands. There are times when only one ambulance is available in the county. Ambulance drivers and paramedics have also been trying to draw attention to this.

“What is exacerbating the problem is the lack of capacity in our ED units as ambulance crews are delayed transferring patients into hospitals and turnaround time is often too long.”

This week there has been a record numbers of trolleys in the ED units, hitting a record high of 760 on Monday and Tuesday morning this week.

“I am demanding that the Health Minister sets out what he is doing in the short to medium term to improve the ambulance service in the Midlands, and also what plans the Government have to increase capacity in the ED units in Portlaoise and Tullamore.

“The facts are that human life is being put at risk and no effective action is been taken by the HSE or the Government to improve the ambulances service or deal with the trolley crisis.”

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