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Call for HIQA to probe ambulance response following Drogheda death

Gerald Nash has called for an inquiry after an ambulance had to be requested from a town 25km away to handle an accident in which a pedestrian died in Drogheda yesterday evening.

Scarlet Street in Drogheda, Co Louth (File)
Scarlet Street in Drogheda, Co Louth (File)
Image: Google Street View

A LABOUR TD has called on the health watchdog to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ambulance response to a road accident where a woman died in Drogheda yesterday.

A woman pedestrian in her 70s died after she was hit by a car in Scarlet Street in the Co Louth town just before 5.30pm last night. She was taken by ambulance to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda about half-a-mile away.

However, it has emerged today that an ambulance had to be requested from Ardee - 25 kilometres away – as both the units stationed in the Drogheda were on calls at the time.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) initially said in a statement this morning that the response time was 45 minutes before it revised that figure to 17 minutes three hours later.

“A staff error occurred where the ambulance crew did not press the on scene arrival status button,” the HSE said in a statement this afternoon saying the ambulance arrived on the scene at 5.40pm, 17 minutes after it had been tasked.

Nash had issued a statement earlier calling for an urgent Dáil debate on the matter and this afternoon criticised the HSE for its handling of the incident and how it was reported this morning,

“It hasn’t assisted matters on this with the number of hours it took for a clarification on the matter to be issued. But the fact is an ambulance shouldn’t have to be dispatched from Ardee to Drogheda,” he said.

He told TheJournal.ie that he intends to pursue the matter until a debate is held and called for the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to investigate.

“This isn’t the first it has happened in Drogheda. In May there was a similar incident, so it’s not the first time and it beggars belief that there is isn’t a sufficient ambulance service for the area,” he said referring to an incident in which a 52-year-old man had to be brought to hospital by a van driver.

HIQA published recommendations in January of last year which said that emergency services should respond immediately to life-threatening emergency calls within eight minutes.

The HSE said it wished to extend its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased.

Woman killed in Louth traffic incident

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Hugh O'Connell

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