Hospitals struggle to meet ambulance turnaround times – Kelleher

Published on: 15 March 2017

Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher says Minister Simon Harris must address missed ambulance targets.  New figures released to Deputy Kelleher reveal that the overwhelming majority of hospitals are continuing to miss the 20 minute turnaround time for ambulance callouts.

“It’s a matter of grave concern that our major hospitals are failing to meet important ambulance target times.  This speaks volumes about the management of our health service and has serious consequences for patients”, said Deputy Kelleher.

“Just five hospitals met the 20 minute target – and that was only in half of all callouts.  None of the other 31 hospitals had a success rate of more than 49 pc for the twenty minute turnaround.

“Of 21,043 ambulance hospital attendances in January, just 6,102 or 29% complied with the 20 minute timeframe.  1,529 ambulance discharges took an hour to two hours. Around one in seven calls in Sligo and one in eight in Cork University Hospital fell into this category with 154 waiting over an hour. Indeed a further 23 calls at CUH took over two hours.  This is shocking.

“Unfortunately, these delays were not out of the ordinary.  The stats reveal that in January 109 ambulances nationwide were delayed at hospitals for two to three hours, 17 were held up for three to four hours, 4 were stuck for four to five hours and one was caught up for more than five hours.

“Clearly these figures are symptomatic of wider problems in our hospitals. It’s notable that the worst performers in terms of reaching the 20 minute target – Cork and Galway – also experienced significant ED overcrowding in January.

“Missing turnaround targets has further consequences of course for the ambulance service as it makes it harder to respond to new call outs in the target time if paramedics are delayed at hospitals.

“This issue must be addressed as a matter of urgency and I am calling on Minister Harris to meet with the relevant agencies to discuss the issue without delay and come up with a plan of action to tackle this extremely worrying situation”.

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