Patients arriving by ambulance at some Dublin emergency departments are waiting more than an hour for admission, the Medical Independent (MI) has learned.
According to documents obtained by this publication under the Freedom of Information Act, in February of this year, almost a quarter of patients who arrived at Beaumont Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) by ambulance waited more than an hour to be admitted. In total, 23 per cent of ambulances arriving at the Dublin hospital waited longer than 60 minutes for admission.
In the first quarter of this year, Beaumont had the longest ambulance waiting times of all Dublin EDs each month.
In January, 13 per cent of patients presenting by ambulance waited more than 60 minutes to be admitted to the ED, while just 26 per cent were seen in 20 minutes or less.
By comparison, St James’s Hospital admitted 67 per cent of ambulance patients within 20 minutes, while just 1 per cent waited longer than an hour to be admitted.
In the first three months of 2012, St James’s ED admitted 3,561 ambulance patients, while Beaumont ED admitted 2,945.
At Tallaght Hospital, 60 per cent were admitted in less than 20 minutes, with 2 per cent waiting longer than an hour. At St Vincent’s Hospital, 52 per cent were seen in 20 minutes or less, while 1 per cent waited more than an hour, compared to 60 per cent and 7 per cent respectively at the Mater Hospital. At Connolly Hospital, 4 per cent of ambulance patients waited more than an hour to be admitted but 59 per cent were seen within 20 minutes.
In March the average waiting time at Beaumont fell to 14 per cent, while at the Mater Hospital, February and March waiting times showed a 3 per cent increase on January, with 10 per cent of ambulance patients waiting more than 60 minutes for admission.
Outside of Dublin, separate documents show that ambulance turnaround times between March 2011 and April 2012 were highest at the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar.
A total of 17 per cent of ambulances waited outside the hospital’s ED for more than 60 minutes in the 12-month period, the same percentage as were admitted in 20 minutes or less.
Cork University Hospital, Mallow Hospital and South Tipperary General Hospital were next, with 12 per cent of ambulances at each hospital waiting more than 60 minutes for admission.
Of the regional hospitals, Dublin North East fared best with Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan admitting 37 per cent of ambulance patients in less than 20 minutes, with just one per cent of ambulance patients waiting more than 60 minutes to be seen. At Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, 72 per cent of ambulance patients were admitted within 20 minutes while 3 per cent waited more than 60 minutes. In Cavan General Hospital, 56 per cent were seen in less than 20 minutes while 2 per cent waited more than 60 minutes.