THE HSE has issued an apology after it took an ambulance almost half an hour to respond to a 999 call made 200 yards from the ambulance centre in Dooradoyle.
An elderly man suffered a head injury when he fell at the Unicorn Bar - a short walk from the Regional Hospital - on Sunday afternoon.
Staff and customers made a number of 999 calls during what the HSE described as an â€œexceptionally busyâ€ period when crews were already dealing with a number of calls - including a traffic accident. The first available ambulance had been dispatched 24 minutes after the initial call, the executive added.
Unicorn owner Bryan Greene said the injured man, a regular customer, had been dropped off by his son for a drink.
â€œHe is nearly 90 so not as steady on his feet as he used to be. He only comes in for half an hour and was just putting on his coat when he fell and hit the back of his head,â€ Mr Greene explained.
The customer was bleeding and staff decided the best course of action would be to wait for an ambulance.
In response to a query from the Limerick Leader a spokesperson for the HSE said: â€œUnfortunately at that time crews were dealing with a number of calls including a road traffic accident. The first available ambulance was dispatched at 16.32 and arrived at the Unicorn at 16.33. We apologise for the delay in responding to this call which occurred on an exceptionally busy Sunday afternoon. Backup from Ennis, Scariff and Newcastle West was deployed during this period.â€
This story appeared in full in the print edition of the Limerick Chronicle published on Tuesday, September 27, 2011