FERMOY AMBULANCE SERVICE AMBUSHED
The Avondhu has this week learned that the HSE, on foot of a demand from SIPTU in relation to health and safety issues, is proposing to cut the on call ambulance service for Fermoy Hospital from the end of September. This will result in just one on call ambulance to cover three regions, Fermoy, Youghal and Midleton.
Currently, there is an ambulance on call from Monday to Thursday in Fermoy, and one in both Youghal and Midleton, that’s three in total.
If these proposals become a reality it will mean that there is no on call service for Fermoy, and there will be just one on call ambulance to service three regions. There will also be cuts to the weekend services.
There is at the moment a full-time crew in each of these regions. This number will be reduced to two ambulances to cover the three regions.
The Avondhu spoke with Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan for his comments on the proposed cuts - “It’s a pure disgrace, how can they justify these cuts? Only one ambulance between Fermoy, Midleton and Youghal. It will only be a matter of time before someone is left to die on the side of the road, ”Mr O’Donovan said.
The Avondhu also contacted the HSE South for their comments on the proposed cuts and this was their response: “SIPTU have insisted that the current on call arrangements in the ambulance service are no longer acceptable to them from a perspective of health and safety.
"SIPTU, the union representing all ambulance personnel, advised the HSE South that it would be instructing its members to withdraw from all on call services from July 1 2010 unless agreements could be reached to eliminate on-call. The matter, which is being dealt with under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), has had a number of hearings to date.
"At a hearing on Monday, June 28 2010 HSE management put forward proposals for consideration by SIPTU which could eliminate on call with a potential start date of October 1 2010.”
“SIPTU have advised the HSE that they will consult with their members on these proposals and re engage with the HSE under the LRC. The ambulance service is integral to the reconfiguration of acute services in Cork and Kerry. In order to avoid any threat to the withdrawal of the ambulance service by ambulance personnel, HSE South management put forward the current proposals.
“The key point to note in the current proposals is that the ambulance service will move from an on call system for evening and night cover to 24/7 ambulance crews on duty.
“This will remove time delays associated with on call crewing arrangements. SIPTU are consulting with their members on these proposals and are due to revert to HSE South management.”
Thursday 1st July 6:19pm