Drogheda Ambulance

HSE Response re. Ambulance Emergency Call in Drogheda

The HSE wishes to extend its deepest sympathy to the family and
friends of the deceased.

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) confirms that a 999 emergency
ambulance call was received at 17:22 on 16 January 2012, for the
Drogheda area.

Vehicles stationed in the Drogheda area were tasked on calls at the
time. Following standard operating procedure, the closest available
ambulance was dispatched at 17:23 and arrived at the scene at 17:40.
The patient was then transported to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital,
Drogheda arriving there at 18:05.

The NAS works on an area, rather than a local, basis and it is a
dynamic, not a static, service. Seven emergency ambulances operate
directly within this area: two in Drogheda, four in Dundalk and one in
Ardee. They are supported by ambulances from surrounding stations in
the first instance and also by NAS resources from adjoining areas.

The response time for this incident was within the HIQA target for
responses to Clinical Status 1 incidents by a patient-carrying
vehicle, which is 18 minutes and 59 seconds. I am satisfied that any
confusion which may have arisen, and which may have led to an
impression that the response time was considerably longer, arose from
a procedural omission in which the on-scene arrival status button in
the vehicle was not activated on arrival at the incident.

Dynamic Deployment

The NAS deploys resources on a dynamic basis to meet surges in demand
and ensure best placement of emergency cover. Resources in any given
area can be supplemented by re-deploying available capacity from
surrounding areas. This also means that vehicles and crews may be
located, during shifts, according to predicted demand so that vehicles
can be distributed around a region rather than sitting in a station
and are in a position to respond to calls in other areas, as happened
in this case.

Background

The NAS provides pre-hospital emergency care and emergency and some
non-emergency patient transport.

Supported by the Department of Health and by HIQA, the NAS is working
to improve the management and integration of its services. This
includes a reduction to two ambulance control centres nationally, with
appropriate technology, a clinical lead for pre-hospital care and
development and implementation of new performance indicators for
pre-hospital care.

These developments are in the best interests of patients and are a key
part of the Government’s work to ensure high quality emergency care.