Breaking: HSE accused of gross negligence over ambulance cover on big match day in Thurles

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon



There was no back-up ambulance cover in Thurles last Sunday despite there being up to 50,000 extra people in the area for the Munster Final.

HSE responds by saying it is up to the event promoter to provide adequate cover.

Tipperary TD, Michael Lowry has accused the Health Service Executive (HSE) of 'gross negligence' after it emerged this week that no additional ambulance cover is provided in Thurles on big match days, despite the influx of up to 50,000 additional people to the town.
It is alleged that one ambulance was on duty in Thurles last Sunday and had taken a patient to South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel, when a spectator in Semple Stadium fell very ill. An ambulance was called but such was the delay that the patients father put her into his own car and drove at speed, with the assistance of a Garda escort, to Clonmel. Unfortunately for that patient, the outcome was not a good one at all, and Deputy Lowry was horrified to discover that no additional ambulances were on duty in Thurles for the game, despite the huge numbers attending.
“This is gross negligence on the part of a statutory authority as far as I am concerned and I am calling on the HSE to rectify this as a matter of urgency. We have another major game in Semple Stadium next weekend and it defies logic to think that the HSE does not think it necessary to improve cover at a time when the population of Thurles increases by five fold.
“When you get a surge in the crowd, you run the risk of motor traffic accidents for example and if there is only one ambulance on call, you need to have back-up.

A photo of Semple Stadium taken by Michael McCarthy of Elite Drone Services on Sunday last which captures the extent of the attendance at the Field of Legends.

“I have asked the National Ambulance Service to remedy this as a matter of urgency because it is extremely unfair to the resident population of Thurles to be left in this precarious position as well,” said Deputy Lowry who added that there is a very modern ambulance base situated very close to Semple Stadium, and yet there is no back-up ambulance provided there.
“It is absolutely shocking to think that a very distressed patient had to brought to Clonmel in her father's car with a Garda escort in order for her to get the treatment she needed. Can you imagine the distress and the anxiety caused by this to everyone involved. It is just not acceptable that situations like this can be allowed to arise and I am calling on the HSE to sort it right now. We have another big event in Thurles next Sunday and we do not want a repeat of what happened to this unfortunate lady from Clare,” Deputy Lowry said.

The HSE ambulance section responded to questioning from The Tipperary Star by stating: "The National Ambulance Service cannot comment on individual cases.  Social events such as a regional GAA final would have an event medical plan developed.  This plan would set out the arrangements with voluntary services and other services, to cover the event.  This is the responsibility of the event organiser."

The response does not, however, address the problem of an issue arising outside of Semple Stadium - within the venue the Order of Malta provide more than adequate cover for most minor incidents, but outside of the venue the HSE, ultimately,  is responsible.