Concerns are being expressed that ambulance services in West Clare are sometimes taking more than double the average time to arrive than elsewhere in this county.
Members of the Regional Health Forum have been told he average response time for ambulance calls in all of Clare since last year is less than sixteen minutes – though this is being contested by some local representatives.
HIQA recommends an ambulance turnaround target of 20 minutes for all callouts, while the HSE sets the target at half an hour.
The UL Hospitals Group told last week’s meeting of the Regional Health Forum that the average waiting time for an ambulance in this county, between January 2019 and this month, has been 15 minutes and 56 seconds.
However, there are concerns particularly in West Clare that wait times are often longer.
Local representatives say this happens when the Kilrush-based ambulance is on a call, meaning the area is covered from Ennistymon or Ennis.
Kilrush-based Independent councillor Ian Lynch claims there have been cases where people in his area have had to wait up to two hours for an ambulance to arrive.
There are four ambulances bases throughout Clare – the other is in Scariff – but efforts to secure a more localised breakdown of the ambulance callout times have not been answered.
Kilkee Fianna Fail Councilor Cillian Murphy was denied this detail when he asked for it at a recent meeting of the regional health forum – GDPR reasons were cited as the reason.
Councillor Murphy, who also believes that there have been longer ambulance waiting times in West Clare, says the issue cannot be solved until evidence is found to demonstrate the scale of the problem.