Sinn Féin delegation demands action on West of Bann Ambulance service
A Sinn Féin delegation led by Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has met with the Western Health Board and the Ambulance Trust in the Tyrone Fermanagh Hospital in Omagh today, Thursday 16th October, to demanded action on improving ambulance service provision in Tyrone, Fermanagh and Derry.
The delegation included Fermanagh councillors Paddy Gilgunn and Gerry McHugh and Derry councillor Billy Page.
Speaking after the meeting Ms Gildernew said:
"West of the Bann, in Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry it is clear that there is insufficient ambulance coverage. There was a review into ambulance services in 1995, and again in 2000 and former Health Minster Bairbre de Brún set aside £165 million to act on the recommendations of the last review yet where are the improvements.
"It is not just a question of new ambulances, that we undoubtedly need, it is also the vital question of staffing levels. What use is a rapid response cardiac unit if there is no one available to drive the vehicle Similarly what use are new ambulances if the Ambulance Trust and Western Health Board do not put in place enough staff to provide the required level of coverage.
"In many parts of Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry we are talking about very rural communities that simply do not have adequate levels of ambulance cover to support access to the hospital facilities that exist. This is part of the wider debate about rebalancing resources ˆ not just in health care - West of the Bann. There have been reviews and plans - what people living West of the Bann need is action.
"We don't need another review into ambulance provision. We need to see that the money, the vehicles and the staff are in place to build on any recommendations that already exist. The Board and Ambulance Trust must take responsibility for the situation and there are many who question their management of ambulance services in this part of the north." ENDS