Councillors write to minister over 'life-threatening' average distance to A&E for Carlow people

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Darren Hassett


Darren Hassett


Carlow Carlow Carlow

Minister for Health Simon Harris

Councillors have passed a motion to write to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, after reports on the average distance for Carlow people to an Emergency Department. 

A motion in the name of Cllrs John Cassin and Fintan Phelan was proposed and passed at this month's meeting of the full Council. 

It stated: "Carlow County Council is very concerned given that on average, Carlow residents are 40km from the nearest Emergency Department the equivalent to a 37-minute drive during off peak times.

"The longest average in the country.  This coupled with, at times, low ambulance cover can be life-threatening. Carlow County Council calls on the Minister for Health to address the council on what measures will be taken to alleviate this issue."

Cllr Phelan said at the meeting that Government may include an A&E in Carlow or extra ambulance cover. He added that Minister Harris could address the motion "in a letter or in person". 

The motion caused much discussion among members and Cllr Andrea Dalton also called for a standalone A&E in Carlow to deal with minor breaks and certain medical situations.

Cllr Fergal Browne said "that's a non-runner" as all the facilities and expertise should be available to people in the one place.

Meanwhile Cllr Will Paton said there are six Community First Responders groups in the county.