Concern over ambulance response times in the south-east

There are calls for action at University Hospital Waterford

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There has been a 57% rise in emergency ambulance calls in the south-east since 2014.

Figures show the number of serious ambulance responses in the region has gone from 15,494 in 2014 to 24,290 in 2016.

This is an increase of 8,796 - or 24 a day in two years.

The figures were released to Sinn Féin Deputy David Cullinane by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

He says the information reinforces the need for emergency services at University Hospital Waterford.

"The lack of funding to match the increased demand is reflected in the drop in response times.

"In 2014 around 61% of life-threatening calls had an ambulance at the scene within 19 minutes. In 2016 that figure was 56%."

"For serious, non-life threatening calls, the figure dropped from 62% to 54%.

"This is at a time when the HSE is pursuing a policy for University Hospital Waterford that does not reflect its regional status.

"There is a clear and urgent need for investment in UHW, in terms of staff and equipment", he adds.