Brassil Wants Reform Of Ambulance Services In Kerry

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KERRY TD John Brassil has called for reform of the ambulance services in Kerry following reports that an ambulance crew from Macroom was tasked to a chest pain incident in a seaside North Kerry village an hour and a half’s drive away.

This is despite guidelines from HIQA that say an ambulance should arrive at life threatening situations within 19 minutes in 80% of cases.  There are seven ambulances stationed in Kerry, one in Listowel, Dingle, Killarney, Cahersiveen, Kenmare and two in Tralee.

Speaking after talking to ambulance crews on the ground in Kerry John Brassil said; “The feedback I am hearing from frontline ambulance crews is that the seven ambulances in Kerry are regularly tied up in clinical handovers when they bring a patient into hospital.

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“Paramedics have to wait until a patient is seen by Accident and Emergency staff which can mean empty ambulances sitting on the hospital tarmac for hours at a time. One Kerry paramedic told me they were tied up on a clinical handover for almost six hours on two separate occasions within the last two weeks alone.”

“The same paramedic told me that it is not unusual for all seven Kerry ambulances to be tied up in A&E car parks waiting on clinical handovers at the same time. This leaves no emergency ambulance within the county, regardless of how serious the next call may be.

We need specific clinical handover staff based at the hospitals that perform an immediate handover and let the ambulance get back into service. We also need to look at pay restoration for ambulance crews who I am told in some cases in Kerry are worn out,” he said.

Deputy Brassil has called on the HSE to clarify what happened in the recent case of a Macroom crew responding to a serious  North Kerry call and has also requested an immediate meeting to discuss how to improve the ambulance system.

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