Ambulance pilot scheme for Athy


Paula Campbell


Paula Campbell


Ambulance pilot scheme for Athy

File photo

Athy may be selected for a pilot programme whereby member of Kildare Fire Service can answer emergency ambulance echo calls or life threatening emergencies.

Cllr Thomas Redmond tabled a motion at this months meeting which was held on Monday, July 24 in Athy.

The motion stated that the council and fire service initiate a pilot scheme whereby the fire fighters in Athy can answer emergency ambulance calls such as those of the community first responders.

The meeting heard that Kildare Fire Service currently responds to requests for assistance under the HSE ambulance service.

As a result a joint working committee was established to look at the potentianl for the fire service to respond to 'echo' calls or life threatening emergencies.

The members were told that the process is still ongoing at national level and Kildare Fire Service is willing to participate in any pilot projects that are proposed as part of this process.

Cllr Redmond welcomed the response. He said that the ambulance response time is 18 minutes but added that in Athy ambulances are often well over the 18 minutes response time.

“There were no ambulances in Athy at least 12 times in the past month,” he said.

“There are no first responders here and several ambulances have been dropped for this area. Those who work in the sector are stressed out due to the drop in the number of ambulances for our area. The ambulance services need a complete over haul.”

Cllr Mark Wall said it was worrying.

“The length of time it takes to get people to an ambulance is quite worrying.”he said.

Cllr Redmond added that the ambulance services locally are under severe pressure.

“This pilot scheme will help and it will make the lives of people living here much safer.”

Cllr Thomas Redmond first raised the issue last month when he said that the ambulance service is “running at dangerously low levels.”

He called on the HSE to appear before the council to address the low level staffing crisis in the ambulance service in Athy.

It was agreed that the municipal district would write to the HSE requesting a deputation to discuss the staffing crisis in the ambulance service in Athy.

The issue of low level staffing and the lack of adequate ambulance cover for Athy and the length of time it was taking ambulances to reach Athy has been high on the council agenda since since 2014.

In October 2014 the council even suspended its monthly meeting to discuss the issue. The that incidences of a lack of proper service to the town from the ambulance service were at the time too frequent to be coincidental.