Ambulance waiting times across the county are hitting an average of 20 minutes – over double what they should be.
That’s according to the latest figures from a HSE commissioned report.
Oughterard, Headford, Tuam, Ballinrobe, Gort, Portumna, Glenamaddy and many other areas across Galway, Mayo and Roscommon are located too far away for ambulances to reach critical patients on time.
The report, as seen by The Irish Times, was issued by UK consultancy firm Lightfoot Solutions after a number of problems with response times to calls were lodged.
It established that the National Ambulance Service needs an extra 750 staff and 250 ambulances to respond to emergencies on time.
Yet even with those resources, they would still be unable to meet specific targets due to poor access to rural parts of Ireland.
The target for life-threatening calls and emergencies is currently set at eight minutes by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).
Areas in Galway, Roscommon and Mayo are at particular risk of delays because ambulance depots are located too far away to reach the critical target.
No more than 54.4 per cent – just over half – of a total of 445,356 people in this area could be reached on time. That leaves over 203,000 at risk based on HIQA standards.
Ten ambulance depots serve the region, and a radius of 14 kilometres driven at 100 km per hour is the assumed requirement to reach them within the allocated time frame.
The only electoral divisions within the three counties to reach that limit are Clifden, Carraroe, Galway, Loughrea, Ballinasloe, Roscommon, Boyle, Castlebar and a small portion of Belmullet – ten areas in total.
That leaves a staggering nineteen key areas in the region lying outside of the 14 km radius.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Two arrested following taxi hijacking in Galway
Gardaí have arrested two men following the hijacking of a taxi in Co Galway last night.
Shortly before midnight, Gardaí received a report that two men who were passengers in a taxi had attacked the driver and stole his vehicle.
The driver was ejected from the car on the M18 motorway.
Gardaí were alerted and observed the car in Claregalway.
A managed containment operation to ‘block in’ the taxi was put in place with assistance from the armed Regional Support Unit.
The car was brought to a stop on Bothar na dTreabh and two men fled on foot. The two men, one in his mid-20s and the other in his early-30s, were subsequently arrested.
They are currently detained at Garda HQ in Renmore under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
Man arrested after €90,000 drug seizure
Gardai have arrested a man after €90,000 worth of drugs were discovered in a bog near Ballinasloe.
As part of an ongoing surveillance operation, Gardai conducted a search in Poolboy Bog late yesterday afternoon.
They discovered €70,000 worth of cocaine, and a further €20,000 worth of cannabis along with other drug equipment.
A man in his 20s was arrested at the scene and taken to Ballinasloe Garda Station.
He’s since been charged and will appear before Ballinasloe District Court next Thursday.
Waiting lists surge since pandemic
Waiting lists at Galway hospitals have rocketed since the onset of Covid-19, with fears that the situation will only worsen as doubts have been cast over the long-awaited new elective hospital at Merlin Park.
Figures released from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which covers the cost of outsourcing public patients to private hospitals, show that since 2020, waiting lists locally have surged by almost 25%.
Galway City Councillor Níall McNelis said statistics obtained by the Labour Party showed the numbers waiting for inpatient and outpatient treatment were ever increasing, and little was being done to address the problem.
“Waiting lists have skyrocketed since the beginning of 2020 and have increased from 52,935 in January to 65,548 in March 2021, an increase of a whopping 23.8% in a little over a year.
“In every specialism, the numbers waiting at Galway University Hospitals are growing and growing month after month, with the number of people waiting for general surgery growing from 3,468 to 4,990 – a 43.9% increase; [the list for] cardiology treatment has grown from 2,406 to 3,231, a 34.3% increase in little over 14 months,” said the Labour Party councillor.
This sharp increase in waiting times came as Moycullen-based Senator Seán Kyne (FG) cast doubt over the mooted 200 in-patient beds and new elective hospital at Merlin Park – something that has long been presented as the solution to Galway’s health woes.
See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie