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Poll topper in Killaloe area Joe Cooney is congratulated by fellow Fine Gael candidate Johnny Flynn during the election count at The West county Hotel, Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.
Councillor Joe Cooneyhas underlined the value of the Scariff-based emergency medical services after a Whitegtae mother gave birth in an ambulance.

Woman gives birth in Scariff ambulance

AN East Clare woman gave birth in an ambulance in Scariff on Monday afternoon.

The woman, who lives in Whitegate, had been driven to the medical centre in Scariff, who in turn called the ambulance service dispatch. The Scariff ambulance was immediately on the scene and the woman gave birth minutes after being placed in the ambulance.

The incident follows concerns recently raised at the regular redeployment of ambulances from Clare stations to Nenagh and Limerick.

A number of county councillors have stated the incident on Monday highlights the value of having an ambulance centre in Scariff and stressed the need for that service not to be further diluted or stretched.

“The ambulance crew based at the Scariff Ambulance Centre received the call on Monday afternoon at 5.10pm. They were informed that a young mother was in labour and required assistance. The ambulance crew were on scene within minutes to assist the young woman. The crew immediately identified that the woman was in the late stages of labour and that transport to Limerick maternity hospital would not be possible. The crew prepared for an on-scene birth and within less than 10 minutes of arriving, the ambulance crew assisted in the safe deliver of the newborn baby,” Councillor Ian Lynch explained.

He feels what transpired indicates the value of retaining a full-time ambulance service in Scariff, Kilrush and Ennistymon.

“The excellent work by the ambulance crew in caring for the young mother and delivering the newborn is, yet again, clear evidence of the importance of providing full crew cover at Scarrif, Kilrush and Ennistymon ambulance stations at all times. It is imperative that the Minister for Health intervenes immediately to improve the working conditions and numbers of crew to ensure the ambulance service is able to provide the highest possible cover at all times,” he suggested.

Councillor Lynch maintains if the ambulance crew had been on call in Nenagh or Limerick, the repercussions could have been serious for the mother and baby.

“These stations need to be fully crewed at all times, to ensure the best possible service and patient safety. The harsh reality is that if this woman had gone into labour 24 hours later, she would have had to deliver her baby without any medical assistance, as the ambulance crew were again taken from Scariff to cover in Nenagh leaving East Clare without any ambulance cover,” he claimed.

“The redeployment of ambulances in Clare to cover other areas is leaving vast areas within the county without emergency ambulance cover. When Nenagh requires cover, this should be deployed from Limerick, which is only 20 minutes away by motorway. Limerick also has a greater number of ambulances. Redeployment of an ambulance from there will not have the same detrimental effect as redeploying from stations such as Scarrif, Kilrush or Ennistymon. It’s really the luck of God that the ambulance crew was stationed in Scariff on Monday. Is this how we now run our health and ambulance service, relying on luck?” he queried.

East Clare Councillor Joe Cooney also underlined the value of the Scariff-based emergency medical services.

“It’s a good example of local services working well. When the need arose, it was good that there were facilities available to help out these people in their time of need. The ambulance service has been stretched a lot recently but, again, it’s important that the local area is covered. When the need arose this time, the local area was covered, which we are pushing for the whole time with ambulance services and doctors,” Councillor Cooney stated.

Peter O’Connell

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