Health Minister Simon Harris has said he will be requesting a report into a situation where a family who called for an ambulance for their mother was told she would have to be taken more than 80km to Cork University Hospital (CUH) despite living just 1km from Bantry General Hospital.
The issue was raised in the Dáil by Independent TD Michael Collins who said a constituent had contacted him on Wednesday to highlight the issue.
“Their 88-year-old mother fell at 10 o’clock, and at 10 o’clock in the morning they rang the ambulance service to take her to Bantry Hospital to be told that their mother would not be taken by ambulance to the hospital next door but instead to CUH in Cork,” Mr Collins told the Dáil.
He said that, in the end, three family members lifted their mother into the car to drive her to the hospital to find out she had a broken pelvis.
“Thankfully, and thanks to all in Bantry Hospital, she is making a great recovery,” he said.
The health minister said that he was glad to hear that the individual was doing well and he was sorry to hear that happened.
“I will certainly seek a report from the HSE and the National Ambulance Service in that regard,” said Mr Harris.
Mr Collins also voiced concern over the HSE’s failure to appoint an anaesthetist to the hospital and asked the minister to give “cast-iron” assurances that the accident and emergency services at the hospital will not be reduced.
Mr Harris said that he “can give a guarantee” that “there are no plans to reduce any current services” at the hospital.