Ambulance response report delayed to autumn
on 16/08/2013 00:00:00
Officials have confirmed the investigation into the death of toddler Vakaris Martinaitis in Midleton, east Cork - which was meant to be published by the end of July - has suffered unspecified delays.
A HSE South spokesperson said the review "is well progressed". However, she added that it will not be completed until mid-autumn - despite the fact it was expected to last just six to eight weeks when it was launched in May.
The investigation into the tragedy, which occurred just days before Vakaris' second birthday, is expected to focus on the exact wording of the 999 call made immediately after the accident took place.
The HSE has previously said it is "reasonable to assume" the failure to send an ambulance to the scene was because of the lack of information provided during the call.
However, the caller, former Cork hurler Kevin Hennessy - is adamant he explained the seriousness of what happened.
During the incident on May 6, a dispatcher initially alerted an ambulance travelling from Cork University Hospital to its base in Youghal, east Cork, about the incident at 2.02pm.
However, two minutes later,the same dispatcher called off the vehicle. As it returned to base, this ambulance is believed to have subsequently passed the fatally injured toddler as he was being rushed to hospital in a neighbour's car under garda escort.
There has been repeated public concern over changes to ambulance services in the HSE South.
While the changes were necessary to cut back on significant and potentially dangerous overtime shifts paramedics were forced to perform, it has also led to claims services have been watered down.
In addition, the centralisation of the national call centre in Dublin in place of a localised system has resulted in suggestions that needless delays are taking place in sending out ambulance crews.
Other ambulance-related tragedies to have occurred in Cork and Kerry in recent months include a three-week-old baby who died in Tralee after a misunderstanding during the 999 call led to the ambulance initially being sent to Cork City instead.