Fears that the ambulance service in South Tipperary may be downgraded has led to the formation of a campaign group that is determined to block any such move.
There are concerns that one of two ambulances based in Cashel will be lost and another ambulance in Tipperary town is also under threat.
A huge crowd attended a public meeting last Thursday in Cashel at which the Tipperary Ambulance Action Group (TAAG) was formed.
Campaigners pledged to pile pressure on South Tipp Oireachtas members in an attempt to prevent the loss of ambulance services. The meeting was told the issue was a “matter of life and death” for the people of Tipperary.
The new protest group is urging the public to lobby politicians.
“The loss of two ambulances would create a snowball effect” said Cllr Martin Browne, who called the meeting.
“Speed is of the absolute essence for stroke victims,” said Dr. Séan McCarthy. Senator Labhrás O’Murchú is to bring the matter before the Seanad, Deputy Healy raised the issue at the Oireachtas Health Committee on Tuesday. Minister of State Tom Hayes has held discussions with the Health Minister James Reilly on the issue and has been assured by him that no change has taken place at Cashel Ambulance Station. The Minister did say that an on-going review of service provision was taking place including rostering arrangements and resource allocation.
Protest group member Dr. Niall Gregory has written to all of Tipperary’s Oireachtas members, and two senior HSE officials this week. “At the time of writing, we are a group of 343 citizens who are deeply concerned with these alleged proposals. Our organisation is growing strongly as news of the proposed reduction spreads.”
Deputy Healy said removal would have a serious impact on services.
“In such circumstances, minimum ambulance response times would be impossible to achieve and would potentially have very serious consequences for patients particularly those suffering from stroke, heart attack and road traffic accidents” he said.