A TOTAL of 1,540 patients in the Dungannon District with potentially life threatening conditions have had to wait on emergency treatment for longer than the recommended time.
The figures which represent a 25 percent increase on the previous set of figures released by the Department of Health mean that in 2013 the local district had the worst ambulance response times in the North.
The disturbing postcode lottery was at its most grim in the South Tyrone and Caledon area, where none of the 27 emergency call-outs in 2013 arrived on time.
The picture is not much better in Clogher, Augher, Ballygawley and Aughnacloy with corresponding rates of 1, 8 and 6%.
Among those whose lives were put at risk were Dungannon District patients suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, convulsions and chest pain.
By comparison 92% of call-outs in the Enniskillen area arrived on time.
The current Northern Ireland target is that an average of 72.5% of all Category A calls should be responded to within 8 minutes. These are the calls where a patient’s condition is judged to be life-threatening.
The longest urgent call out in the Dungannon area took 51 minutes.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said he was “disappointed” that Category A response times had dropped but noted that the ambulance service “works tirelessly”.