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48 ambulances have over 400,000km on the clock

Garda vehicles retire at 300,000 kilometres.

Image: Photocall Ireland

NEARLY 50 HSE ambulances in Ireland have travelled over 400,000 kilometres.

That is despite Garda vehicles being retired at 100,000 kilometres fewer.

The figures were released to independent TD Denis Naughten and show that 71 ambulances have done more than 300,000 kilometres.

The HSE has earlier told TheJournal.ie that the limit for ambulances is not publicly available.

In a letter to Naughten, a HSE performance manager says that the odometer readings don’t account for engine replacement. It adds that €7.5 million will be spent on ambulances this year.

“It is important to note the odometer reading on an NAS vehicle does not reflect nor indicate for example an engine replacement or the replacement of other significant component parts.

“In 2014, €7.5 million has been allocated for vehicle and equipment replacement. 35 emergency ambulances and 2 neo-natal ambulances will be purchased at a cost of €3.5 million. 15 of these new ambulances have already entered service around the country.”

Naughten says that the notion that nearly 20% of the ambulance fleet over the 400,000 kilometre mark, something must be done.

Earlier this year we had a number of high profile incidents where emergency ambulances broke down when responding to or transporting critically ill patients. This is just not good enough, particularly due to the fact that vast swathes of the country are now very reliant on such services following the closure of smaller emergency departments.

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“When these ambulances breakdown not only do they put the lives of the patients that they are transporting at risk but it also means that another ambulance has to be taken out of an already overstretched system to take that patient to hospital.

“In many parts of the country it is not unusual for patients to have to wait for up to an hour for an ambulance, due to the limited resources that are available. Adding into the mix ambulances with mileage in excess of the warranty of the vehicle is just not good enough and is placing patients at an unacceptable risk.

“No one who eventually gets an ambulance, or the often heroic paramedic staff working on a critically ill patient, should have to worry about the possibility of the ambulance breaking down. If this practice continues it will only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs.”

The HSE did not respond to a request for comment.

Read: Dublin Fire Brigade investigating how a wheel fell off an ambulance while driving

Read: Ambulance breaks down with life support patient on board

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