Further decline in ambulance response times

Ambulance response times in counties Roscommon, Galway and Mayo have deteriorated further and remain well below standards set by the Health Service Executive, documents released this week have shown.

  An ambulance is failing to arrive at the scene of a life-threatening emergency within a recommended time in one out of two cases.

  According to HSE targets, an ambulance should arrive at the scene of life-threatening calls – Echo (cardiac-related) or Delta (non-cardiac) – within 18 minutes, 59 seconds.

  However, last December, the most recent month for which statistics have been verified, an ambulance met this target in the three counties in only 49 per cent of cases in Delta calls and in 60 per cent of cases for Echo calls.

  Both response times were significantly below the national average that month, which was 69 per cent for Echo and 56 per cent for Delta.

  It can also be revealed that it took an ambulance 52 minutes, 27 seconds to arrive at the scene of a non-cardiac life-threatening emergency (Delta) in one of the three local counties in December.

  There were 898 Echo and Delta calls made in these counties that month.  These statistics were released by the National Ambulance Service, a wing of the HSE, under the Freedom of Information Act. 

  The details suggest that the ambulance service in the west is declining. Between Echo and Delta calls, the target response time was met in only 54 per cent of cases last December, a three percentage point reduction on August, when the previous statistics were provided by the HSE.