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Ambulance turnaround times concern

New figures have revealed that over 10% of ambulance visits for Sligo University Hospital take longer than an hour while only 13.4% are cleared within the 20 minute turnaround time.

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has said 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 only recording a 6.7% success rate while Portiuncula only had a 12.7% success rate. The figures were for May 2017.

Fianna Fail TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene 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.

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

“Figures for Sligo University Hospital indicate that over 10% of ambulance visits take longer than an hour while only 13.4% 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.

“I am very concerned by the number of hospitals that are not only failing to meet the 20 minute deadline are missing them by significant margins,” said the Fianna Fáil TD.

Deputy Murphy said that Minister Harris needs to work with the National Ambulance Service and the HSE National Hospital Managers to identify why these targets are not been met and to put in place implementation and oversight mechanisms to ensure that they are met into the future

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