By Sean Moriarty
New figures revealed by the National Ambulance Service (NAS) shows Kerry as having the third worst ambulance response time in the country – after Wexford and Cork.
Kerry currently has six ambulance bases and 10 fire stations – but a plan to allow fire stations in the county to act as a localised ambulance base has not been implemented – despite a promise made by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Department of Health two years ago. In the first quarter of this year, 27 different calls had a response time of over one hour.
The NAS report also revealed that the pandemic did not have a negative effect on response time because there was less traffic on the roads and night life and the bar trade was non-existent.
In September 2018, the then Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy promised that the existing fire service structure would be used to support the ambulance service.
This plan has yet to be implanted.
“Kerry, as a rural county, would greatly benefit from this as distance to a patient is the biggest delay factor,” Cllr Donal Grady, who is a former Fire Officer, told the Killarney Advertiser. “This service would significantly improve response times and patient outcome in the county.”
Cllr Grady has asked Kerry County Council to write to Darragh O’Brien, the newly appointed Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, seeking a date on the implementation of this life-saving service.