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28/10/2021

Injured Laois player reportedly 'loaded into van' after another ambulance no-show

Ambulance

Two more accounts of ambulances not turning up for injured Laois sports players have been claimed by Laois councillors.

One underage player had to be brought to hospital in a van after waiting for hours in vain for an ambulance, according to Cllr Paschal McEvoy from Stradbally.

“They had waited over two hours, it is a crazy setup, an awful problem. How they are coming from Dublin or Ballinasloe to pick up a sick person, it just does not make sense. I tried to contact them but I was talking to the wall. There is no shortage of money in the HSE, but to have some young lad lying on a pitch with a broken ankle having to be loaded into a van in this day and age, we should get answers,” he said.

Cllr James Kelly gave an account of a player with a broken leg.

“It was a bad leg break, it was raining very heavily. You are told not to move them, but you might take matters into your own hands and do more damage. This is not a witch hunt. Staff are working long hours in a bigger area than they should be working in,” he said.

They were speaking at the September meeting of Laois County Council, where Portlaoise Cllr Willie Aird tabled a motion requesting to have a HSE representative come to their November council meeting and answer questions.

“The service of late leaves a lot to be desired. Like the fire service your heart is thumping from the phone call to the time of arrival. We don’t have councillor representation to the HSE when things affect our area so  we are asking for a HSE rep to come here and allay fears on why the service has gone back instead of forward. I don’t want it to get any worse,” he said.

The three councillors sit on the Midlands Regional Health forum will also table a motion on the issue there, Cllr Paschal McEvoy, Cllr Thomasina Connell and Cllr Padraig Fleming.

The Leinster Express highlighted two recent cases where ambulances never arrived to bring injured players to hospital, in Portlaoise and in Ratheniska.  Read that story and the HSE's statement, below. 

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley supported the motion, noting that her husband Deputy Brian Stanley TD questioned the HSE chief executive Paul Reid about the issue.

“He claimed it was a brilliant service. Ambulances are driving up to 10 hours a day from the midlands down to Waterford and Wexford. These drivers are doing expert work but are literally sent from Billy to Jack. It’s absolutely crazy. We need clarification,” she said.

The loss of elderly daycare services in Abbeyleix, Shaen and Mountmellick community nursing units will also be on the agenda for the meeting with the HSE, on request by Cllr John Joe Fennelly.

“I’m contacted practically every day about this. We want a pathway out of Covid for these services to be restored,” he said.   

Laois County Council is to request a presentation from the HSE.

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