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"Alarming" delays in ambulance response times 14.04.14

A Donegal deputy has described "a series of alarming delays" in the response time of ambulances to local emergencies.
Deputy Charlie McConalogue said: "Official figures show that last year, only one in every three people with life-threatening conditions were responded to within the target time.
"The situation is worse in more rural areas. Large parts of the country, including Donegal, have often been left without any ambulance cover for long periods of time. And lives are being put at risk as a result."
The Dáil will debate a Fianna Fáil motion this week which raises concerns about "a growing crisis in the ambulance service". The party said hard-working and dedicated paramedics were being "undermined" by national policy.
“The centralisation of ambulance control and dispatch has led to serious inconsistencies in ambulance cover and a lack of local knowledge when it comes to responding to emergencies.
"This has meant that our local ambulances are often sent to another county for emergencies, leaving large parts of Co Donegal without any cover whatsoever. It’s an extremely dangerous situation," added Deputy McConalogue.
He said the Republic of Ireland had less than 1,600 ambulance staff and a budget of €137million to cover a population of 4.6 million. He said Scotland had three times as many ambulance staff and just under twice the budget that we have here.
“This week in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil is asking TDs from all parties to stand up for our local ambulance service and ensure that it gets the basic resources it needs to respond safely to emergencies. People have a right to expect that they will receive a safe and timely response in the event of life-threatening emergencies,” he added.
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