Sole ambulance assigned to serve population of 70,000

A sole ambulance is to be assigned by the HSE to cover a population of over 70,000 in east Cork.

And, if emergency cover is required, ambulances from Cork City or from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, will have to provide back-up.

The Irish Examiner has learned that from May 28, the ambulance based in Youghal will be replaced by a paramedic response car.

Furthermore, a Midleton based ambulance will be relocated to Youghal but its crew, at the start of a shift, will have to drive it back to the Midleton area for deployment.

Sources within the ambulance service described the relocation as “a waste of valuable time”. They also point out paramedic response cars cannot transport casualties to hospitals.

As a result, there will be only one ambulance based in the region to ferry patients to hospital.

Cllr Michael Hegarty (FG) described the HSE decision as “ludicrous”. He is calling on Health Minister Dr James Reilly to reverse the decision.

He said it would be a major mistake to reduce cover with so many large industries operating in the area, such as the Conoco Phillips refinery, Bord Gáis, and the ESB power station in Aghada.

The people of Cobh and Great Island, who for years have been fighting for an ambulance, are also expected to resist the move.

The area of 13,000 people has been receiving cover from Midleton. Locals now fear the cover will be further diluted.

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