HSE officials will be asked to explain why a county councillor had to wait three hours for an ambulance and why its crew then spent a further two and a half hours outside a Cork hospital before they were given back the trolley on which she had been lying.
Independent councillor Mary Linehan-Foley slipped in a cafe in her home town of Youghal at 12pm on December 21.
An ambulance was called when a first responder who arrived at the scene thought she might have fractured her hip.
The ambulance was called at 12.10pm and arrived approximately three hours later from Waterford City.
“The ambulance had to stay at CUH for two and a half hours while I was processed and they got their trolley back,” Ms Linehan-Foley told fellow councillors.
She said she fully realised there might be more serious cases waiting for attention, but thought three hours was a long time to wait and could not understand why an ambulance from Waterford had to come to her aid as there was an ambulance based in Youghal and other areas closer to the town.
She said she had written to Health Minister Simon Harris as she believed from her experience and from hearing numerous similar stories from other members of the public that there were not enough ambulances or paramedics based in the region.
“I’d be very worried for people who would be in a serious condition and would have to wait that time,” she said. “Something is radically wrong with the system.”
She said she had been told she would be given an explanation at the next HSE south meeting as she is a memberof that forum.
Sinn Féin councillor Paul Hayes said there were only about 14 ambulances serving Cork city and county.
He said he knew of a case when an ambulance crew from Skibbereen was sent to an emergency in Whitegate near Midleton, and was later called to an incident in Cork City so, like the Waterford ambulance, was away from its base for many hours.
“These can be life and death situations and every effort has to be made to improve the service,” said Independent councillor Noel Collins said.
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