Date Released: 12 January 2014
SIPTU has demanded that the terms of reference of a forthcoming Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) review into ambulance response times includes consideration of the resourcing of the ambulance service and those which aim for similar targets.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said:“It is our understanding that HIQA will shortly be undertaking a review of the Ambulance Service’s performance in relation to a number of Key Performance Indictors (KPI).
“Central to these is whether ‘first responders’ are responding to emergency calls within the just under eight minutes recommendation for situations classed as life-threatening. This follows reports in recent weeks of incidents where this response time was not achieved and may have led to a tragic outcome for patients.
“In order to properly review the ability of the Ambulance Service to achieve its targets in relation to these KPIs, which are based on similar targets implemented by ambulance services in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the HIQA review must also examine the resourcing of the various services.”
Paul Bell added: “Both those who serve in the Ambulance Service and the public must have confidence that resources are at a level which allows for the achievement of KPIs based on best international practice.
“HIQA must make its findings on these issues known to the Minister of Health and Children who is obliged to act in a manner which ensures that the Ambulance Service is resourced so that it can achieve the level of excellence that our members are committed to attaining.
“SIPTU Ambulance Service shop stewards also believe this matter should be referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, at which all the stake holders can contribute to the discussion on why KPI targets are not being attained. Full discussion of these issues would raise the morale of the professionals who work in the service and restore public confidence.”
SIPTU research indicates that the approximate annual budget for the ambulance service in the Republic of Ireland is €130 million compared to £200 million (€240 million) in Scotland. The populations the seservices cover are approximately 4.6 million in the Republic of Ireland and 5.3million in Scotland.