Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has expressed his concern at the defects in the Ambulance Service in the North-East Region. ‘The Service is far below the HIQA standard for response times due to the inadequate number of vehicles and staff and the lives of our loved ones, neighbours and friends are at risk as a result of this on-going under funding. By comparison with the service in the North of Ireland we have about 1/3 less staff. There is a complete lack of cover for staff who are off sick or on holidays to maintain the very low level that the HSE already provide. This situation must be addressed urgently.’ Referring to the the re-configuration of hospitals in the region some years ago additional ambulance cover was put in place together with a number of Intermediate Care Vehicles (ICVs). The ICVs are only available to transport patients between hospitals and are not emergency response vehicles. It now appears that most of the additional resources provided at that time have not been delivered and the other resources promised at that time have not materialised. Additional ambulance station have not opened, additional staff and vehicles have not been provided. ‘There are a number of emergency responders in cars in the region. There are used to essentially stop the clock when an emergency call is made, they cannot provide the type of care needed by patients that an proper ambulance can provide. There is no point messaging the figures to make things look good when the service is so poor.’ ‘It is important to say that the staff presently working in the Ambulance Service are highly skilled and when they get to the scene of an accident or respond to an emergency call they do great work but there are simply not enough staff, not enough ambulances, not enough money to provide emergency medical treatment in the region and get patients stabilised and into hospital quickly,’ concluded Councillor Feeley.