Ambulance had to travel 37 miles to emergency in Larne

The ambulance service has apologised to a Larne family who had to wait nearly 90 minutes for paramedics to arrive from Ballymoney.

The alarm was raised at 9.15 pm after an eight-year-old girl had a seizure whilst her grandmother was babysitting.

Editorial image

Editorial image

However, the primary school child did not reach Antrim Hospital until two hours later after an ambulance had to be directed to Larne from a town, 37 miles away.

Based on the information provided, the call was initially classified as category B, “serious but not immediately life-threatening”.

However, the ambulance crew based in Larne for a Saturday night shift had already been dispatched to an emergency call five minutes prior to this call being received.

At 9.28 pm, a second 999 call was received by the emergency service advising that the child’s condition had deteriorated and the call was “upgraded to potentially serious or life-threatening”.

A spokesperson said: “NIAS immediately despatched the closest available emergency ambulance from Ballymoney station.”

An hour later, after the ambulance had still not arrived in Larne, the service received a complaint from the child’s mother.

The spokesperson continued: “Following this, NIAS immediately phoned the person who was with the patient and stayed on the phone with them until the arrival of the ambulance at 10.40.

“Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, the patient was taken to Antrim Area Hospital.

“NIAS would like to apologise for any discomfort and distress caused to the patient and her family during her wait for the arrival of an ambulance.”

NIAS says that it aims to respond to category B calls within 21 minutes.

The spokespersoncommented: “There has been an increase in ambulance response times over recent years. The main reason for this is the year on year increase in demand for our service.”