Ambulance response time in Ireland: the legal implications

Ellen O'Shea
October 2015

In Ireland, reports indicate that response times by ambulances to 999 or 112 pre-hospital emergency healthcare calls are not meeting key performance indicators. This can have implications for the patient and the ambulance service. Delays in response times or a failure to meet key performance indicators could lead to claims for negligence against the ambulance service, as has happened in the United Kingdom (UK). In such cases, the plaintiff must prove that he or she is owed a duty of care, that there was a breach of the standard of care expected, that he or she suffered an injury or wrong, and that the injury or wrong was a direct result of the ambulance service not attending within a reasonable or set time frame. This paper will examine the legal implications of failing to respond to 999 or 112 telephone calls within a reasonable time or within agreed guidelines.

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