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Friday 13 December 2019

Ambulances take average 5 to 8 minutes to reach hospitals

Travel time was quickest to the Mater Hospital
Travel time was quickest to the Mater Hospital

Ambulance journeys for major trauma patients to Dublin hospitals take an average of between five and eight minutes, a study shows.

The longest journey recorded was 26 minutes.

All patients could get to any Dublin emergency department (ED) in an average 18 minutes and to a major trauma centre within the internationally recommended transfer time of 45 minutes, the study showed.

Its authors said they overestimated journey times by 14 to 34pc because "emergency response vehicles can travel faster than private motorists".

The average distance from an incident to the receiving emergency department was 4km, with major adult trauma evenly distributed throughout Dublin city and county.

Travel time was quickest to the Mater Hospital, followed by St James's, with journeys to Beaumont and Connolly the longest.

Nearly 85,000 medical emergency calls were analysed from 2014 as part of the study, A Trauma Policy For Ireland, published in the Irish Medical Journal.

Cork University Hospital will be the major trauma centre in the south, while the major trauma centre in Dublin is yet to be decided.

Catchment

Dublin Fire Brigade operates a fire-based emergency medical service providing pre-hospital care to Dublin, serving more than 1.3 million people.

It works in close collaboration with the National Ambulance Service.

The introduction of a major trauma centre and two trauma units in Dublin will change the existing system of transporting patients to the nearest ED based on geographical catchment areas based on clinical parameters.

The key data collected in the study included the location of each incident and the time taken to travel from the scene to the receiving ED.

Estimates of this travel time and distances were made using Google Maps.

"An analysis of medical geography can contribute positively in designing and planning services," said the study's co- author Orla Kelly, from St James's Hospital.

"In a planned hub and spoke model, the ideal major trauma centre would be able to rec-eive the maximum number of patients from a geographical territory within a 45-minute ambulance transit time.

"A knowledge of where major trauma occurs and the time needed to transfer the patient from the site of injury to the emergency department can be one consideration when decid- ing where to locate a major trauma centre."

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