Paramedics delivered a baby within 10 minutes of arriving at the scene of a call out this week — 50 kilometres from the nearest hospital.
But medical assistance would not have been available to the mother of the newborn on Monday if the alarm would have been raised 24 hours later.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar has been urged to intervene in a rural ambulance crisis in Co Clare.
A county councillor claimed it was “pure luck” an ambulance was available.
Kilrush-based Cllr Ian Lynch said the ambulance which responded to the call had been sent 24 hours later, to an emergency in a neighbouring county.
Paramedics at the Scarriff ambulance base in east Clare had been requested to respond to an emergency call about a mum-to-be at 5.10pm on Monday.
They had been advised a young mother was in the late stages of labour and “about to give birth”.
The ambulance crew arrived at the scene within minutes and quickly established they would not have time to transport the woman to University Maternity Hospital Limerick, almost 50 kilometres away.
Paramedics prepared for an on-scene birth. Less than 10 minutes after arriving at the scene, they assisted in the safe delivery of the newborn.
Non-party councillor Mr Lynch congratulated the mum and praised the ambulance crew. But he said it was more luck that anything there was an ambulance available in the area.
“The harsh reality of the dire situation is that if this woman had gone into labour 24 hours later, she would have had to deliver her baby without any medical assistance.
“The ambulance crew had, yet again, been taken from Scarriff to provide cover in Nenagh in north Tipperary, leaving east Clare without any ambulance cover.
“The excellent work by the ambulance crew in caring for the young woman and delivering the newborn is yet again clear evidence of the importance of providing full crew cover at Scarriff, Kilrush and Ennistymon ambulance stations at all times,” he said.
“It’s really the luck of God that the ambulance crew was stationed at Scarriff on Monday.
“But, is this how we now run our health and ambulance service, relying on luck?”
In recent months, large areas of Clare were without ambulance cover while a rapid response unit, introduced when theA&E department in Ennis was closed in 2009, was off the road for up to 20 shifts in July.
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