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Sinn Féin to raise concerns with Ambulance Service Chief Executive

16 February, 2007


For immediate release: 16th February 2007


Sinn Féin to raise concerns with Ambulance Service Chief Executive


Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MP Conor Murphy and South Down Assembly election candidate Caitriona Ruane are to meet with the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service in Belfast on Monday to discus concerns about the replacement of ambulances operating in the Newry and Mourne area and also the issue of ambulance cover in South Armagh.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Mr Murphy said:

"Sinn Féin have a number of serious concerns about not just the provision of ambulance cover in South Armagh but also about the state of the ambulance fleet in both Newry and Mourne.

"Recent revelations about what appear to be clear breaches of the Ambulance Service's own guidelines on replacing ambulances give rise to serious concerns about the ability to meet the needs of the local community and are no doubt putting ambulance crews under unnecessary stress and strain.

"The Ambulance Service guidelines state that replacement of vehicles is considered if they are either 7 years old or have recorded 140,000 miles. The service received a one-off payment of two million pounds that was made available to buy new ambulances. However, of the seven Ambulances in this area, one has been permanently off the road for a lengthy period and four of the remaining six are in breach of the service's own replacement criteria.

"The issue of ambulance cover in the South Armagh area must also be addressed. Figures clearly show that ambulance response times for the area are not up to the response times recommended by the Ambulance Services.

Note to Editors

Conor Murphy and Caitriona Ruane will be meet with the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service and other senior officials in their Belfast Headquarters on Monday, 19th February, at 10am.


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