THREE ambulance paramedics in Northern Ireland were disqualified for drink driving over the past five years and two of them are still employed by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), it’s been revealed.
The Health Minister Edwin Poots said another emergency vehicle driver was disqualified for another traffic offence during the same time.
He stated: “The NIAS has advised that three paramedics were disqualified from driving in the past five years because of alcohol related offences of whom two remain employed as paramedics.
“One emergency vehicle driver was disqualified for another traffic offence.”
Meanwhile, the Minister also revealed that the waiting time for an ambulance to arrive at the scene following a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) in the Western Trust area was the shortest in Northern Ireland.
The average time between the arrival of a RRV to a call out and the arrival of a conveying A&E ambulance between February 2012 and February 2013 was 11 minutes and 22 seconds.
This compared with Belfast (14 minutes and 28 seconds); Northern (13 minutes and 26 seconds); South Eastern (16 minutes and 20 seconds); and Southern (12 minutes and 39 seconds).
Mr Poots stressed the figures “should not be interpreted as ‘waiting times’ as RRV paramedics provide life sustaining care including defibrillation, airway protection and drug administration until the conveying A&E ambulance arrives.”
The Minister said there are currently 24 ambulances available at ambulance stations within the Trust.