Ambulance response times to life-threatening conditions improving but still not on target

Thirty six per cent of emergency calls for cardiac arrests and other life threatening conditions are reached by ambulance crews within eight minutes in the HSE West area according to Paudie O’Riordan, area operations manager west, National Ambulance Service.

Mr O’Riordan was speaking at a meeting of the HSE West Regional Forum in Merlin Park on Tuesday.

Emergency services should respond to immediately life-threatening emergency calls within eight minutes, according to recommendations published by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA ).

The authority’s ambition is that 75 per cent of life-threatening cardiac or respiratory arrest incidents be reached within the eight minute timeframe by appropriately trained personnel.

These measures are aimed at ensuring that emergency service response times for patients in Ireland are comparable with other countries.

However, Mr O’Riordan told Tuesday’s meeting that these types of life-threatening calls are only a small percentage of calls received by the ambulance service.

The 36 per cent response rate is up from 25 per cent last year and Mr O’Riordan said they are working towards a 75 per cent target but this will happen incrementally.

“Any variation within a small cohort of calls can bring the numbers up or down significantly,” he added.


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