AMBULANCE waiting times in the North have almost doubled in five years, however, Enniskillen patients who were not immediately life-threatening faced the shortest wait.
The shortest average time for category B patients (serious but not immediately life-threatening) – just over 11 minutes – was in BT74, in Enniskillen in 2018.
Similar patients from the Ards Peninsula faced the longest average wait, with an average response time of almost 40 minutes.
The figures were obtained by the BBC from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the Health and Social Care Trust.
Patients with potentially life-threatening injuries (Category A) could expect to wait an average of 13 minutes and 12 seconds in 2018 representing a rise of almost 80% on 2013, when the average wait was seven minutes and 23 seconds.
Speaking to the BBC, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it had identified several factors leading to the longer response times, including staff shortages and longer journeys due to the “reconfiguration of acute services”.
Referring to the recently-completed consultation exercise, a spokesperson said: “NIAS is currently reviewing responses to the consultation proposals in preparation for submitting a final proposal to the Department of Health”.
In April 2018, the NIAS outlined to the Herald the level of local coverage.
“Enniskillen operates three 24/7, 365 days paramedic crews. Two Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) paramedic crews, one RRV on a 12 hour shift from 08.00-20.00 and a second RRV from 14.00 to 12.00,” said an NIAS spokesman.
“Therefore during the peak of the day, three A&E and 2 RRVs operate.”
In total, there are three accident and emergency day crews, three A&E night crews, two RRV paramedics until midnight, one paramedic station officer during the day, two single crew ICV vehicles for outpatient movements, two ICV crews for discharges, renal patients and hospital transfers, and one ICV crew doctors support vehicle.”
Posted: 2:46 pm March 17, 2019