September 9, 2008

Patient Stranded on Way to Hospital


AN ambulance has broken down while carrying a patient to hospital in Londonderry.

An investigation is now under way into what happened when the vehicle was forced to stop on the Culmore Road while taking the patient to Altnagelvin Hospital's accident and emergency department.

During the breakdown the man - who is not believed to have been suffering from a life -threatening problem - was looked after by the ambulance crew and a Rapid Response Vehicle paramedic.

The incident led to claims today by union shop steward John Kay that some ambulances were too old and therefore could be prone to breakdowns.

However, it is understood the ambulance that broke down just before 8pm yesterday was not one of the older vehicles.

Sammy Nicholl, station officer in Derry, said the patient was well looked after during the incident, which was caused by a mechanical problem.

Unison shop steward Mr Kay said the incident could have had more serious consequences if it had happened later in the day when fewer ambulances were on call. He told the BBC: "If this happened in a life--threatening condition there could have been a disaster."

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