Family warns lessons have not been learned from mother's tragic death

There are growing concerns over the level of ambulance cover in many counties around the country

Family warns lessons have not been learned from mother's tragic death

Image: PhotocallIreland

The family of a 70-year-old woman who died after waiting on an ambulance for an hour following a road accident has warned that lessons have not been learned from her death.

Maura Porter was hit by a car near her home in Carndonagh just after Christmas three years ago.

The accident happened approximately 1km from the Carndonagh ambulance base - however the only ambulance on duty was unavailable.

Maura's family did everything they could for her while they waited for an ambulance to arrive from Letterkenny, 62km away.

She eventually died in hospital six hours after the accident occurred.

Ambulance cover

The number of ambulances based in Carndonagh was cut to two in 2013 - providing 144 hours of cover per week - with just one on duty at any given time.

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning,  Maura's daughter said that something needs to change - as new figures reveal that ambulances in some parts of the country are travelling as far as 80km to pick up patients.

According to figures in The Irish Independent this morning , some counties have just two ambulances providing round-the-clock cover.

Up to six counties have only one ambulance on night duty.

Lessons to be learned

Davina Porter told Newstalk that she does not believe lessons have been learned from her mother's death.

"I would dread that I or a close family member or even friends, or anybody, would have to go through this again," she said.

"We have been through it and the hopefully the probability of it happening to us again is slim - but it will happen to somebody else in our area or in some other rural area.

"They will be left waiting for an ambulance and if it is life threatening they are in bother."

Rural cover

According to the new figures, there are just two ambulances on day shifts in Carlow, Leitrim and Longford every day. Sligo, Monaghan and Laois are also covered by just two vehicles at certain times.

Carlow, Sligo, Meath, Longford, Donegal, and Laois meanwhile sometimes have just one ambulance on night duty.

The numbers are in contrast to the cover afforded to urban areas with more than 20 ambulances covering Dublin every day and 16 in Cork.

"You don't think it is going to be you," said Ms Porter. "I never thought that Christmas that the year was going to end with mum being dead and dying in such a manner.

"The fact that she lay on the side of a road in water, and blood everywhere and her in such a bad state - it could happen.

"We live two minutes from the ambulance base here in Carndonagh; [the problem] is when the ambulance is out.

"And that one ambulance covers the whole of our peninsula - which is the size of a small county."

Cardiac care protest

This afternoon, large crowds are expected to protest outside the Dáil to demand round-the-clock cardiac care in the South-East of the country.

The recent death of Thomas Power, who suffered a heart attack while being transferred by ambulance to Cork - has re-ignited calls for a 24 hour Cath-Lab for Waterford.  

Members of Mr Power's family will address an Oireachtas briefing on the issue alongside regional campaign groups.