Ambulance turnaround times are putting lives at risk - Murphy

Fianna Fáil Deputy for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy, says that unless ambulance turnaround times improve lives will continue to be put at risk.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil show that virtually all hospitals continue to miss the 20-minute turnaround time for the majority of ambulance calls, with University College Hospital Galway (UCHG ) only recording a 6.7 per cent success rate, and Portiuncula only having a 12.7 per cent success rate. The figures were for May, 2017.

Deputy Murphy said: “Only one in four hospitals managed to meet the 20-minute turnaround target for ambulances. Of the 21,373 visits by ambulances to our hospitals, just 5,377 were completed within the required 20-minute deadline.

“Some 21 per cent of all ambulance visits to University Hospital Galway take longer than 60 minutes. This is something that isn’t sustainable and must be addressed. Only 6.7 per cent of all ambulances at UCHG are cleared in 20 minutes or less, while in Portiuncula only 12.7 per cent of ambulances are cleared within the 20-minute turnaround time.”

“Of course, missing turnaround targets has a knock-on effect 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. Unsurprisingly, many of the hospitals with low turnaround rates also experience overcrowding in their Emergency Departments. The delays in transferring patients are clearly not the fault of the ambulance service. Rather there are symptomatic of the ongoing difficulties in our acute hospitals.”

Deputy Murphy said that Minister for Health, Simon Harris, needs to work with the National Ambulance Service and the HSE national hospital managers to identify why these targets are not being met, and to put in place implementation and oversight mechanisms to ensure that they are met into the future.

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