People power seems to have won the day in Mulranny as news was welcomed this week that the ambulance base there is to be fully staffed for the first time since it officially opened a year ago.
Mulranny based GP, Dr Jerry Cowley, confirmed he received word that the ambulance base will be fully staffed early this year, just days after he delivered a petition with 3,000 signatures directly to the office of An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in Castlebar.
Dr Cowley, a former Independent TD, along with fellow Achill GPs, launched the petition for a staffed ambulance base in the locality last January, following the birth of a baby at his surgery because no ambulance cover was available in time to transport the expectant mother to hospital.
Dr Cowley says he has delivered seven babies in Mulranny where mothers could not make the hospital in time because of the wide distances involved.
A report published by health service watchdog HIQA, at the beginning of December, labelled Mulranny as one of three ‘ambulance blackspots’ in the country.
The HSE announced the staffing of the Mulranny and Tuam ambulance bases had been prioritised for 2015 and was to commence on a phased basis in September but Dr Cowley said that was too long to wait for the vital service.
Following the petition campaign, the staffing of the base has now been brought forward and Dr Cowley said he expects the crew to be in place within the first quarter of the year. “This is great news indeed, and although well overdue, is to be greatly welcomed. For the first time ever, people in this region will have a proper ambulance service on their doorstep,” said Dr Cowley.
“This will save lives and prevent long term disability by ensuring a prompt response by the dedicated and hardworking HSE ambulance paramedics and EMTs based in their own area.
“I would like to thank An Taoiseach for his intervention and all those who assisted with and signed the petition.”