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Published on August 18th, 2016 | by BoyleToday.com

Ambulance turnaround times queried

New figures released show that virtually all hospitals continue to miss the 20 minute turnaround time for the majority of ambulance calls with Galway only recording an 8% success rate while Portiuncula only had a 15 % success rate. The figures were for May 2016.

Fianna Fail TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy who has released the figures said, “Only four hospitals managed to meet the 20 minute target for more than half of ambulance attending their Emergency Departments. None of the other 26 hospitals had a success rate of more than 49% for the twenty minute turnaround.

The figures show that the best performing hospital was Tallaght Paediatric at 58%. Navan Hospital, Connolly Hospital and St James’s were the only others to break the 50% mark. At the other end of the scale two hospitals failed to break 10% with Galway recording an 8% success rate and Mayo coming in at 9.7%.

Deputy Murphy also highlighted the fact that Portiuncula Hospital only recorded a 15.2% success rate for the 20 minute target while some 92.2% of ambulance calls to Portiuncula of 389 calls too up to one hour to be cleared.

Sligo Hospital only had an 18.2% success rate for the 20 minute ambulance target with 91.8% of calls (619) taking up to one hour to clear.

Six hospitals were in the 10-20% range – Letterkenny, Sligo, University Hospital Limerick, Portiuncula, South Tipperary, Midland Regional Tullamore, Kerry and Cork University Hospital.

“Of 20,032 ambulance hospital attendances in May, just 5,820 or 29.1% had a turnaround within the 20 minute timeframe. 1,126 ambulance calls took more than an hour with Mayo worst at 17.7% followed by Galway at 15.4%. It is quite alarming that an ambulance going to either of these two hospitals is almost twice as likely to have to wait an hour or more than to reach the turnaround target. In University Hospital Galway there was only a 7.9% success rate for the 20 minute timeframe while 84.5% (755 calls) took up to one hour to clear,” said Deputy Murphy.

“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,” concluded Deputy Murphy.

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