Just one in every two local ambulances dispatched to a life-threatening 999 call is failing to meet HIQA response time standards of less than 19 minutes, Denis Naughten TD has revealed.
“The HIQA standard states that an ambulance should be at the scene of a life-threatening call (ECHO & DELTA) within 19 minutes in 85% of cases. HIQA had directed the National Ambulance Service to achieve this in 2013. However last year just over 46% of all 999 calls in Roscommon, Galway & Mayo met this response time meaning that one in every two life-threatening calls, to which HIQA standards apply, fails to comply with those standards,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Every one of these delayed ambulances is potentially putting lives of local people at risk. And while the announcement that the ambulances bases in Tuam & Mulranny are to be fully operational by September is welcome, it still leaves Loughglynn & the whole of West Roscommon without a proper emergency service”.
“We need all three ambulances bases operating on a full time basis now, with the back up of a 24 hour a day air ambulance service. This is the only way to improve these appalling response times”
“Every year 3,000-5,000 people die from heart attacks and the survival rate for someone who has a heart attack outside of hospital is just one in 15. Annually about 10,000 people suffer a stroke and about 2,000 die each year and again access to hospital treatment is the difference between being able to walk out of hospital or not.
“The fact is that delays in responding to life-threatening 999 calls and further delays in getting to hospital put patients at a far higher risk of dying or having serious long term complications on foot of delayed treatments,” concluded Denis Naughten.
Editor’s note: HIQA standards state 85% of all 999 calls should have an ambulance at the scene within 19 minutes. This is occurring in just 65% of calls. Therefore of the 85% that should comply with those standards just 65% do, meaning a ¼ of that 85% of calls do not comply with the standard.
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