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20th Feb 2024

Number of patients dying before ambulance arrives is up by 70% since 2016

Joseph Loftus

The shocking increase was discovered in new HSE figures.

The number of patients dying before an ambulance could reach them has increased by 70% in the last eight years.

The figures were requested through a parliamentary question by Aontú leader, Peadar Toibín TD.

Back in 2016, there were 657 deaths by the time an ambulance had arrived, as depicted in HSE figures, reports Irish Examiner.

In 2022, this figure had risen to 1,008, and in 2023 it has risen again to 1,108.

Number of patients dying before ambulance arrives is up by 70% since 2016.

Toibín said in response to the figures: “Aontú has found out that, for 1,108 callouts last year attended by the National Ambulance Service, the person was dead by the time of arrival.

“Under this government, this number is getting higher every year.

“The has been an incredible increase in the number of people who have died before an ambulance reached them in the last few years…The figure is getting worse ever year and its because the length of time it takes for an ambulance to reach a person is getting longer.

“The main driver of this is the fact that thousands of ambulances are stuck at A&Es for more than an hour trying to deliver their patient because the A&Es are so over crowded.

“In 2022, on 94,639 occasions an ambulance was waiting more than an hour for a handover, and on 76,970 occasions across 2023.

“We need to move heaven and earth to increase the number of ambulances and ambulance staff and drivers in the country, but we also need more A&E capacity and more GPs to reduce the pressure on A&Es. It’s a vicious circle, lack of resources in one area of the health service is driving dangerous problems in other sectors.”

Last month, Toibín asked Health Minister Stephen Donnelly about the fact that the average ambulance response time in Ireland “has been increasing significantly in the past few years.”

He said: “This is a very serious statistic that shows lives are being put in danger as a result of late ambulance arrival.”

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