McNulty meets Ambulance Service over local response times

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Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty has met with the Operations Director of the Ambulance Service Mr Brian McNeill in Newry. 

McNulty sought the meeting to discuss ongoing concerns about Ambulance Response times locally.



Speaking to Newry Times, McNulty said, “The Ambulance Service is one of those services you hope you never need, and when you do call them it really is a cry for help. 

“The professionalism of and care given by ambulance personnel, be it the Emergency Ambulance, the Rapid Response Vehicle or the Non-Emergency Ambulance Service, is second to none. We hear time and time again of the care and attention given by the personnel each and every time they are called upon.

“However there remains a major issue relating to ambulance response times. I know the service is under pressure but in recent weeks alone I have become aware of cases were it took over three hours for an emergency ambulance to respond to a call. 



“Furthermore, we have heard so many stories of ambulances sitting at Emergency Departments waiting for patients to be transferred from the Ambulance to the Hospital. Ambulance crews are spending too much time at Emergency Departments and are therefore restricted in terms of their availability to respond to further emergency calls.

He continued, “This is simply not good enough. We all recognize that ambulance personnel are working under extreme pressure and know how frustrated they are with inefficiencies in the system. They are crying out for leadership and investment. We need more personnel and more vehicles responding to the growing demand for the service.

“This is a leadership and resource issue. I took the opportunity to discuss at length the pressures on the service locally and the concerns raised with me by residents. Response times in areas like in the heart of South Armagh simply are not good enough, and I firmly believe this is putting lives at risk.

“What struck me the most was the appetite for change and investment in the service, however with no Minister in charge of the Department of Health proposals to help resolve the problems facing the service are stuck on the ‘To Do’ list. Again, this is simply not good enough. 



The local MLA added, “The Ambulance service is a key front line service and it must be allowed to modernise and expand. I will continue to engage with the service and the Sothern Health and Social Care Trust on how to improve the service and streamline the cooperative efforts off all involved when the Ambulances and patients arrive at our hospitals.”

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