HEALTHCARE blackspots have been identified on maps which show gaps in access to services across Ireland.
The most startling finding showed access to 24-hour hospital A&E takes on average 21 minutes in the Republic but just 16 minutes in the North.
People who suddenly fall ill in rural Kerry, north Mayo, west Clare and south-west Donegal are more than an hour's drive from a hospital A&E.
Professor Rob Kitchin, NUI Maynooth, who drew up the mapping system, said it is just as likely the figures will be used to dictate where cuts are made, as to identify gaps in services.
These figures compare to average 10-minute trips in city areas including Belfast, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Castlereagh, south Dublin and Coleraine.
In Dublin the average journey time to a 24-hour emergency hospital is eight minutes.
The study found local health services and facilities are marginally more accessible in the North, and that on average travel times to all services in the North are also lower.