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HSE ambulance cuts putting lives at risk – Crowe

14 August, 2012 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has said that the drastic cuts to ambulance services in Dublin City, County and its hinterland will inevitably put lives at risk and lead to longer response times from a vastly reduced service.

Crowe was speaking after being informed that the Tallaght area was to be short of an Ambulance at Airton Road this evening (Tuesday) between the hours of 7pm and 7am. Deputy Crowe said that this was “gambling with people’s lives.”

 Deputy Crowe said:

“Last night the Swords area was without a HSE ambulance between the hours of 7am and 7pm. This evening the traditional HSE ambulance cover from Airton Road in Tallaght will be missing.

“This reduced service is the result of official strategic decisions on the part of the HSE and is happening because of funding cutbacks. Traditional HSE ambulance service coverage in areas like Maynooth, Kildare, Balbriggan, Baltinglass and Arklow are also going to be reduced in the coming days.

“This will place additional pressure on existing services and will make response times even longer. It also comes in the wake of a reduction of the working week from 40 hours to 39 hours which has resulted in the loss of ambulance cover leaving one Dublin fire brigade ambulance operating out of the Belgard Road when normally a second ambulance is available.

“The HSE will claim that the fire brigade service or a first responder car with one individual in it can provide adequate cover.

“As an elected representative I am asking what I believe is a reasonable question - is the service that they are leaving behind sufficient or able to cover the growing population of Dublin and its hinterland?

“In my opinion the HSE are gambling with people’s lives.

“How can anyone concerned about safety claim that this policy won’t lead to seriously injured or ill people being left without assistance.

“This roster cut and the gamble involved will inevitably lead to the loss of someone’s life

“Ambulance staff are now not being covered if off sick or on annual leave. This is also putting additional pressure on the limited service.

“I have written to Health Minister James Reilly on this matter and have called on him to immediately convene a meeting of the HSE to discuss this life and death matter.”

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