Dublin ambulance review ‘a waste’

Dublin city manager Owen Keegan has rejected a motion passed by Dublin
City councillors to suspend a planned review into ambulance services
provided by Dublin Fire Brigade. The motion, which was put forward by
the Labour group earlier this week, calls

for the review to be suspended
until a national HSE review is completed.

Dublin’s emergency
ambulance service is operated by the fire brigade, under Dublin City
Council, while ambulances are operated by the national ambulance service
under the HSE. Dublin Fire Brigade responds to 40% of emergency
ambulance calls nationally. The HSE pays the council around €9 million a
year to provide the service, from a national budget of €134 million.

Labour
councillor Brian McDowell accused Mr Keegan of seeking to undermine the
work of Dublin Fire Brigade, which he described as “first class.” He
said that the city manager was looking to “bring private operators into
the service.”

Mr Keegan announced the review of the Dublin
service just two days after the HSE announced its national review. Two
external consultants have been appointed to conduct the review at a rate
of €600 each per day.

IMPACT official Phil McFadden was
part of a trade union delegation that attended the council meeting. He
said the Dublin review made no sense in the context of the national
review already underway. “This is essentially doubling up on the expense
of reviewing the service, and the city manager is pursuing this despite
a democratic decision by the council. It raises a lot of questions
about the real objectives for this review.

“The Dublin
ambulance service operates on less than 10% of the national service
budget, yet responds to 40% of ambulance calls nationally. That
demonstrates outstanding efficiency for a service delivered by dedicated
men and women who do an excellent job. The city cannot afford to have
that excellence undermined,” he said.