Ambulance plans blasted

HSE plans to remove the Dublin ambulance service from Dublin fire brigade, which were reported in the Irish Times week, are unnecessary and wasteful, according to IMPACT. The union says the current service couldn’t be matched by the health authority for excellence or efficiency.

The Dublin fire brigade service responds to 40% of national ambulance calls for less than 10% of the national ambulance budget. “That’s outstanding efficiency for a service delivered by dedicated men and women,” according to IMPACT national secretary Peter Nolan.

The Dublin fire brigade operates the capital’s service on behalf of Dublin City Council, while the rest of the country is served by the HSE’s national ambulance service. The HSE pays Dublin City Council around €9 million a year for the service from a national budget of €134 million.

Meanwhile, Dublin city manager Owen Keegan has rejected a city council motion calling on him to suspend a planned review into the capital’s ambulance service. The motion, which was put forward by the Labour group of councillors in March, sought to suspend the study until a national capacity review, currently being done by the HSE, was completed.

Mr Nolan said the extra review meant additional and unnecessary costs and said the city manager’s decision raised questions about his real objectives. “Undermining the existing service might be the real agenda for this review. Reports that the HSE are planning to take the service away from Dublin fire brigade only serve to undermine it further, and raise suspicions that the outcome of the review is a foregone conclusion,” he said.