09/07/15 Senator Daly speaks to the Seanad on the Emergency Ambulance and Organ Transplantation Situation

Senator Daly: I support my colleague from Clare in the call for a debate on the ambulance service, particularly the emergency ambulance service. As we know, many ambulances are stood down and are not available when required throughout the country. In my own county of Kerry, two emergency ambulances have been withdrawn over the last four years. We now see situations where patients, including road traffic accident victims, are waiting up to an hour for ambulances to arrive. I ask the Cathaoirleach and the Leader to organise a debate in the House on this situation.

I also put the House on notice that we have a motion on the Order Paper in regard to the situation with organ transplants and organ donation. We will be putting an amendment to the Order of Business next week. As we are sitting five days next week, I ask the Leader that we would have the Minister for Health in the House to give a statement in regard to Beaumont Hospital.

Senator Cummins: He was here yesterday.

Senator Daly: I know that, but the situation has not been resolved and we need urgent action. Obviously, when the House rises, the situation is not going to be improved.

On an important point, the skillsets simply are not there. We know the answer we have been getting, which is that the jobs have been advertised and so on. Unfortunately, the current pay thresholds mean the people have to come in from abroad, if we are going to get them at all. The treatment purchase fund is also an issue we have raised in our motion as it would allow those on the kidney transplant list and the pancreatic transplant list to become eligible for the treatment abroad programme.

The most amazing situation dealt with in our motion is that those who are on the transplant list are being instructed to go to accident and emergency, which is hard to believe. These people are very sick and vulnerable to infection. For the HSE and the medical services to be instructing them to go into harm’s way by telling them to attend the emergency wards is entirely wrong. They never had to do this before and, in fact, it is the exact opposite of what they had to do and what they should do. I ask that the Minister would come to the House to explain why our transplant patients are being put in harm’s way.

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