By Ann Casey
The ambulance service in Meath came under fire again this week following two incidents over the weekend, which saw delays in ambulances attending the scene of serious emergencies.
When a man suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Ashbourne last Friday morning, ambulances arrived on the scene almost half an hour later from Loughlinstown and Maynooth. Sadly, the man did not survive the incident.
It is believed an ambulance took an hour to get to the scene of an accident in Wilkinstown, Navan, where a man was trapped under a jeep when a jack failed on Saturday evening.
The emergency services were alerted to the incident in Wilkinstown on Saturday night at 6.39pm, where Donal Blaney was trapped under a jeep.
According to Deputy Peadar Tóibín, the fire brigade arrived at 7pm and had him free by 7.15pm. An advanced paramedic is believed to have arrived in a jeep at 7.30pm, followed by an ambulance from Cavan town at 7.40pm, an hour after the emergency call was made.
The man was taken to hospital in Drogheda where he was treated for injuries to his chest. He is making a good recovery.
In the Ashbourne incident, a man suffered a heart attack at his home on Friday morning. The local fire brigade arrived at the scene within minutes and began working on him, but it is believed to have taken up to half an hour before an ambulance arrived.
Two ambulances, one from Loughlinstown and the other from Maynooth, arrived at around the same time.
In both cases, the ambulances arrived outside the HIQA recommended time of 19 minutes.
Meath West Deputy Peadar Tóibin said: “There is a long catalogue of incidences where lives and health were put at risk because ambulances have not arrived in time,” he said. “I am calling on the minister to finally listen to the people of Meath and provide a reliable ambulance service that will get to emergencies in a timely fashion.”
He said Meath’s Dail deputies would be meeting with Health Minister Dr James Reilly on 16th January and he would be raising this issue of ambulance delays with him.
Deputy Tóibín said that if the government departments could get their acts together, and allow the ambulance and fire service to act as one, it would eliminate a lot of problems as the fire service has a better geographical spread and can get to the scene of an emergency very quickly.