28 Jun 2022

Offaly lives 'at risk' over long ambulance turnaround times

Lives at risk over ambulance turnaround times in Laois and Offaly - claims Renua leader

Ambulance turnaround risk lives.

RENUA leader and Offaly councillor wants answers from HSE and Minister Simon Harris

Lives are at risk in Laois and Offaly due to dangerously long ambulance turnaround times for patients, according to RENUA Ireland leader John Leahy.

Cllr Leahy said ambulances in emergencies should meet an average turn-around time of twenty minutes but these targets are not being reached at two bases in either county. The Offaly county councillor challenged the HSE to explain why.

The former general election candidate said figures prove these targets are being badly missed at bases in Portlaoise and Tullamore.


Cleared in 20 Minutes or less - 13.5%  

Cleared in 30 Minutes or less – 39.5%

Cleared in 60 minutes or less - 94.2%  

Cleared in 1-2 hours or less - 5.8%

Average Time 35.13


Cleared in 20 minutes or less -25.3%

Cleared in 30 minutes or less - 53.1%

Cleared in 60 minutes or less - 90.5%

Cleared in 1-2 hours or less - 9.2%

Cleared in 2-3 hours - 0.3%

Average Clearance time 33.11 minutes    

"I am gravely concerned that Tullamore is failing utterly to meet HSE targets and the situation in Portlaoise is equally unsettling," said the Offaly County Councillor.

He said it is not good enough that barely one in eight Tullamore ambulances are cleared in the correct time. The main hospital for Laois and Offaly is located in Tullamore.

"The fact that it takes so many ambulances, more that 50%, up to an hour to be cleared speaks of a totally dysfunctional system.

"How on earth for example is it that one in twenty ambulances take between one and two hours to clear.

"We need answers quickly as to why the average turn-around time is, at 35.13 minutes, almost twice the acceptable rate," he said.

Cllr Leahy said Minister Harris needs to impose some accountability on this system.

Mr Leahy said: “Once again lives are being put at risk. Ambulances backed up in Emergency Departments are not available to the community or to people who are seriously ill."

He said there are always exceptional circumstances, but, currently the exception is the norm.

"It is time to tackle this crisis now with leadership and organization and to ask the National Ambulance Service and the HSE National Hospital Managers to identify realistic pro-active solutions on the ground,” Leahy concluded.

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