Lives at risk as ambulances can take 40 mins

Lives at risk as ambulances can take 40 mins
Cork University Hospital, Cork. Emergency department, ambulance vehicles at the ED. Pic: Larry Cummins

PEOPLE experiencing life-threatening emergencies are waiting over forty minutes for an ambulance in some cases because of the ongoing trolley crisis in emergency departments. 

Tony Gregg, of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association, said the current hospital overcrowding problems have left ambulances queuing outside emergency departments in Cork, with members regularly reporting delays transferring patients from ambulances to emergency departments.

Under official targets, an ambulance should respond to life-threatening emergency calls within 8 minutes and get to the scene of less urgent calls within 19 minutes.

But Mr Gregg said: “Most hospitals have a shortage of trolleys in emergency departments, which leads to delays in transfer and consequently calls start to back up and there are delays.” 

“Then you see people waiting forty minutes or more in cases for Echo and Delta calls (life-threatening calls)."

“In CUH there can be waits of up to an hour before patients are transferred from an ambulance trolley to an ED trolley. In the Mercy University Hospital, the wait can be up to three or four hours."

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