Ambulances were delayed by over sixty minutes in 47 critical incidents a month as two emergency responses exceeded two hours

Almost fifty cases a month were logged of ambulances turning up over an hour after they were first called to a life-threatening event, according to National Ambulance Service records.

In two cases – both in Co Cork – the ambulance took over two hours to get there; once because of the distance involved, and once due to a road having been blocked by fallen trees.

Detailed data from the National Ambulance Service (NAS) also show how response performance suffered as Ireland began to grapple with the Christmas wave of Covid-19 infection.

Long delays were most common in Cork due to the sheer size of the county with one in six of the over one-hour-long waits recorded in the county.

The records cover the second half of last year with 282 cases – or 47 a month – where patients were waiting at least sixty minutes for an ambulance to arrive at their location.

The National Ambulance Service said however, that this represented just a small fraction from the 81,718 highest priority calls they had received during that time.