Emergency workers warn 'clapped out' ambulances putting patients in danger

New figures have revealed that over 200 ambulances broke down in 2016

Emergency workers warn 'clapped out' ambulances putting patients in danger

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

Emergency service workers are warning of an urgent need to update the State's ambulance fleet.

New figures have revealed that more than 200 ambulances required breakdown assistance last year.

Nearly 5% of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) fleet has over 300,000 kilometres on the clock, according to the figures.

Speaking today, Tony Gregg, the national secretary of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) warned that the figures highlight a "potentially dangerous situation for both patients and ambulance crews."

"Unfortunately, we have seen a number of near tragic incidents around the country resulting from mechanical faults in the ambulance fleet in recent years," he said.

"These were in part responsible for the programme of replacement that began in 2015, but it is now time for the complete decommissioning of aging and 'clapped out' ambulances which should have no place in a modern National Ambulance Service that has a greater and more important role in the delivery of health services than ever before."

According to the figures, released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), there were 203 ambulance breakdowns in 2016.

A total of 45 occurred in the Dublin area, while a further 63 were elsewhere in Leinster.

There were 25 breakdowns in Connacht, 46 in Munster and 24 in  Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.

Kildare recorded the highest number of breakdowns outside of Dublin - with 16 breakdowns so far this year.

Data regarding ambulance breakdowns before this year is scarce with the only available figures showing that 235 NAS vehicles required roadside assistance during a nine-month period in 2015.