Bradshaw reiterates call for radical reform of Ambulance Service

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has reiterated her call for “radical reform” of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) after it was revealed the highest priority ambulance call-outs are taking an average of three minutes longer to arrive than three years ago.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after it was disclosed average waiting times had rose from 7.15 minutes to 10.17 minutes. The NIAS said its target of eight minutes was being missed because of the outdated system for categorising calls.

“There are a number of issues throughout the NIAS, including attendance times, staff shortages and low morale due to stress, as well as gender-imbalance among the ranks. The service had its attendance times set in the 1970s, so there is a clear need for a root and branch review.

“NIAS staff do a superb job but are hamstrung by the outdated system under which they are operating. Any review must include an investigation into whether it is time for a medic to be on board those ambulances attending the most urgent cases, for example, head trauma caused by a road collision, to enable the patient to be provided with treatment upon arrival, as opposed to having to be transported back to an emergency department.

“Radical reform of the NIAS would enhance service right across the board, reducing wasted time and helping save lives.”

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