McNulty seeks meeting on local ambulance response times

Posted by
Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
Community, Politics

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty is to meet with senior representatives of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service over constant complaints about ambulance response times across Newry and Armagh. 

Speaking to Newry Times, McNulty explained, “Most of us only dial 999 when it is an emergency and we expect that plea for help to be responded to as quickly as is practically possible. 



“However, if you live in parts of South Armagh you can wait up on three hours from initially dialling 999 until an ambulance arrives. This is only one story that has been recounted to me recently and I hope it does not become a trend. If it can take a couple of hours for the ‘Rapid Response’ vehicle to attend when someone is in a life or death situation, this is just not acceptable.”

He continued, “We have a first class resource in Crossmaglen with the First Responders but they can only do so much. We need a properly resourced ambulance service which responds to the needs of the community when and where they need it. 



“I have spoken to our devoted paramedics and they are stretched almost to breaking point. They know it is not uncommon for an Emergency Ambulance to be dispatched from Belfast or Omagh to deal with a call out in South Armagh. The logistics of this mean an extended delay in getting to a seriously ill patient.

“This is not new nor is it confined to rural communities, I have heard of examples of how it has taken up to half an hour to respond to cases within Newry City. People’s lives are being put at risk and there needs to be a fundamental review of how the system is operated, where Emergency Ambulances are based and where Rapid Response Vehicles are based.



The local MLA added, “I have sought a meeting with the senior team of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and will be raising these issues directly with them. Emergency Ambulance Response needs to be configured and resourced to ensure people have the comfort of knowing that the service our community relies upon will arrive on time.”


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