In figures released by the Health & Social Care Board it shows that not once during the last year, April 2012/13, did the ambulance service meet the Ministerial target of regionally arriving at 72.5% of all life threatening calls in under 8 minutes.
Is this the fault of the ambulance service?
· Delays in handing patients over in A&E’s due to the units being full leaving the ambulance service queued up
· Closures in of A&E’s in Mid Ulster, Whiteabbey, Omagh and Dungannon have left the ambulance service with longer travelling distances both to pick up patients and deliver them to hospital
· Ambulances are now fitted with tracking systems, with all the major acute A&E’s now being in mainly urban areas, an ambulance based in Magherafelt could deliver a patient to Antirm and find itself not being able to leave the Belfast Urban area as the tracking system would not allow it to return to base.
· Limited Out Of Hours and short opening hours of Minor Injury Units
The Northern Trust which runs Antrim hospital have attributed 57 of its 12 hour’s A&E breeches to the Ambulance Service, this is defined by the Trust as “Where a patient requiring ambulance transport from the Emergency Department waits longer than 12 hours, the breach will be attributed to the ambulance service if the transport was requested within four hours of the patient presenting to the Emergency Department.”
Notes to editor:
· Health & Social Care Board data can be found here: http://www.hscboard.hscni.net/board/meetings/20131306%20June%202013/Item%2007%20-%20HSC%20Board%20Performance%20Report%20PDF%20755KB.pdf
· Freedom of information on Mid Ulster response times can be found here: http://savethemid.weebly.com/1/post/2013/04/41-of-life-saving-ambulance-calls-responded-to-on-target-in-mid-ulster.html
· Northern Health Trust 12 hours ambulance breeches can be found here: http://www.northerntrust.hscni.net/pdf/Trust_Performance_Report_april_2013.pdf