West Waterford, with a catchment of over 30,000 people, is currently receiving 24/7 emergency cover from just one ambulance. This is according to figures uncovered by Sinn Féin local election candidate Conor D. McGuinness.
“Figures from the National Ambulance Service that I obtained show that there is just one ambulance to provide round the clock cover for the West Waterford area. West Waterford has a population of over 30,000 and is largely rural.
“The most recent capacity review undertaken by the NAS has advised that additional staff are needed to meet targets set out by HIQA and called for a multi-annual programme of investment in vehicles and personnel.
“Forty percent of emergency calls across the country are to rural areas. There is a need to ensure that sufficient ambulance crews are available to deal with increasing demand. Its clear that investment by Government has not kept pace with the needs of the population.
“If on any given night, the one ambulance based in Dungarvan is on call, the area is left without cover. We are depending then on ambulances from as far away as Fermoy or Kilkenny to respond. Neighbouring ambulance stations are also under-resourced and have their own large rural catchment areas to serve.
“Paramedics with the NAS do trojan work, as do community first responder groups, but its clear to me that there simply isn’t enough emergency ambulance cover for the population of West Waterford. Once again we see that Waterford is being left behind when it comes to investment.”