Figures released to Denis Naughten TD show that 48 emergency ambulances operated by the HSE have over 400,000km on the clock which, leaving such vehicles at a higher risk of breakdown.
“Clearly with close to a fifth of all emergency ambulances having mileage in excess of 400,000km it dramatically increases the risk of breakdown. And this from an ambulance service which is already stretched to breaking point,” commented Denis Naughten.
“Earlier this year we had a number of high profile incidents where emergency ambulances broke down when responding to or transporting critically ill patients. This is just not good enough, particularly due to the fact that vast swathes of the country are now very reliant on such services following the closure of smaller emergency departments.
“When these ambulances breakdown not only do they put the lives of the patients that they are transporting at risk but it also means that another ambulance has to be taken out of an already overstretched system to take that patient to hospital.
“In many parts of the country it is not unusual for patients to have to wait for up to an hour for an ambulance, due to the limited resources that are available. Adding into the mix ambulances with mileage in excess of the warranty of the vehicle is just not good enough and is placing patients at an unacceptable risk.”
Denis Naughten added: “The Gardaí automatically take their vehicles off the road after 300,000km yet there are 48 emergency ambulances on Irish roads, many of which are substandard, with more than 400,000 kilometres on the odometer. These are vehicles are being relied upon to respond to life or death emergencies.
“No one who eventually gets an ambulance, or the often heroic paramedic staff working on a critically ill patient, should have to worry about the possibility of the ambulance breaking down. If this practice continues it will only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs.”
Please find here confirmation from HSE of ambulance odometer readings.