Health Minster:Case of Letterkenny mom driving sick child to hospital ‘unacceptable’

The Health Minister has said it is unacceptable that a Letterkenny mother had to drive to hospital while a paramedic treated her child in the back of the car.

It emerged last month that an ambulance was called out by the mother – but it was only staffed by one paramedic because another had phoned in sick.

He was then unable to drive the ambulance and treat the child at the same time – and a backup ambulance was 45 minutes away.

In the Dail, Pearse Doherty called for enhanced ambulance and paramedic services to be made available in County Donegal.

He said that in light of growing concerns among staff in the ambulance service and the general public, cutbacks to frontline services mean that staff struggle to respond appropriately to emergency situations

The Minister said the National Ambulance Service has enhanced the delivery of ambulance services in the north west through the recent introduction of a new intermediate care service in Letterkenny to free up emergency resources for emergency calls.

He added that the ambulance service is also progressing training of additional advanced paramedics and a number of staff from the north west, including Donegal, are included in this programme.

Responding on the case of a mother driving her sick child to hospital - the Health Minister described it as a serious matter and committed to having it investigated.

He said it makes no sense that an ambulance would go out on its own and the paramedic would therefore be unavailable.