Ambulance delays at University Hospital Limerick still a concern

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Ambulance delays at University Hospital Limerick still a concern

According to the National Ambulance Service, the average turnaround for ambulances visiting UHL in May was 35 minutes 25 seconds

NEW figures show that University Hospital Limerick handled the highest number of ambulance call-outs in the country during May. 

The figures which are contained in a reply to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Fianna Fail TD Billy Kelleher, show that 1,485 ambulances attended the hospital’s emergency department during the month having been dispatched on emergency or urgent calls.

St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin catered for 1,351 ambulances while Cork University Hospital had 1,279.

Excluding childrens and maternity hospitals, Bantry General Hospital in West Cork dealt with the fewest ambulances calls (111) during May. 

According to the figures, the average turnover time for ambulances arriving at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) during May was 35 minutes 25 seconds placing it in the bottom ten of hospitals nationwide.

According to the National Ambulance Service (NAS), more than 92.1% of the ambulances which attended UHL in May left the hospital and returned to service within an hour.

However, there were 111 incidents (7.5%) where the turnaround time was between one and two hours while there were six incidents of ambulances being detained at the hospital for more than two hours.

The quickest average turnaround time (17.19) was recorded at Tallaght Pediatric Hospital while the slowest (43.54) was recorded at Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar where there were 17 incidents of ambulances being delayed for more than two hours. 

Deputy Kelleher says it’s worrying that just a quarter of all ambulance visits were completed within the required 20 minute deadline.

“Every minute an ambulance spends at Emergency Department is a minute it isn’t in the community available to answer emergency call outs. When ambulances are stuck at hospitals, there will be situations where sick people, sometimes critically ill, are left waiting for attention. Lives will be lost if this situation isn’t dealt with,” he said.