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‘Lives being put at risk’ due to ambulance turn around times says Renua leader

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Renua Ireland leader John Leahy has challenged the HSE to explain the dangerously low turn around rates for ambulances in Portlaoise and Tullamore.

Leahy, who has contested the last two General Elections, and is expected to be a candidate once again in the re-formed Laois-Offaly constituency the next time, says “it is not good enough that barely one in eight Tullamore ambulances are cleared in the correct time” and that “the situation in Portlaoise is equally unsettling”

Mr Leahy said, ‘‘it is expected that ambulances in emergency should meet an average turn-around time of 20 minutes.
I am gravely concerned that Tullamore is failing utterly to meet HSE targets and the situation in Portlaoise is equally unsettling.

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

“How on earth for example is that one in 20 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.

“Minister Harris needs to impose some accountability on this system’’

Mr Leahy warned the situation is equally deplorable in Portlaoise.

“The situation in Laois is equally stark with three quarters of ambulance clearances failing to meet the 20 minutes objective.

“I am particularly concerned that almost one in ten hospitals take more than an hour whilst the average clearance time, at 33.11 minutes, is little better than that of Tullamore.”

Mr Leahy has highlighted the figures in both hospitals and 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.

“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.”



  • 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

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. Husband of Emily, father of William, Lillian and John, he's happiest when he's telling stories