Injured tourist waited almost 5 hours for ambulance

Injured tourist waited almost 5 hours for ambulance


A tourist waited almost five hours for an ambulance after she suffered a fall on the Cliffs of Moher walking trail.

The woman is understood to have made her own way to the visitor centre at the popular attraction where she was cared for by staff who also called for an ambulance. The incident occurred on Friday of last week, May 27th.

At the time however, it’s understood, there was no ambulance available in the county and the injured woman had to wait until late into the evening before an ambulance could transport her to hospital.

The HSE’s National Ambulance Service uses a system of ‘dynamic deployment’ where the closest available ambulance is assigned to a call based on the seriousness of that call. This in turn means that less serious calls, even it reported through the ambulance service through the 999/112 emergency call system, could be left waiting.

Paramedics have claimed however the system is flawed and ‘just isn’t working’ and that entire counties are being left without ambulance cover while crews are sent “all over the place” to answer calls.

One paramedic said: “If this was a more serious call there still wasn’t an ambulance in Clare at the time and this is the problem. The Clare ambulances, like many other counties, can be sent anywhere in the country or left waiting at emergency departments for hours. This means they are not where they should be, in Clare answering calls. An Ennis ambulance could go to UHL with a patient but left in Limerick for the rest of the day answering calls there, in Tipperary ore anywhere control sends them.”

“And, who determined that it wasn’t a more serious call. Was there a medical person there to decide? I doubt it and this is part of the problem. It often happens that a call is triaged and based on the information provided, a decision is made on whether the call requires an urgent response or can wait. Unqualified people are telling controllers what they see but what about what they can’t see,” the paramedic added.

File Photo

When asked about last Friday’s incident, a spokesperson for the National Ambulance Service said: “NAS received a 999 call at 16:31 on Friday 27 May 2022 from the Visitor Centre at the Cliffs of Moher. The call was clinically triaged by the NAS Clinical Hub.

The call was clinically classified as an OMEGA (lowest acuity case) call which are not encompassed by any response times targets. During busy periods when emergency ambulances are responding to life threatening or serious 999 calls or waiting to handover patients at Emergency Departments, such calls may have to wait for a response.”

The National Ambulance Service however did not respond to many of the questions asked in relation to last Friday’s incident and responses to emergency calls in Clare generally.