Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the HSE’s National Ambulance Service (NAS) to give a clear and unambiguous clarification surrounding threats to the level of ambulance cover in the Tipperary region, particularly in the South Tipperary area.
Deputy McGrath was speaking as there are growing fears that despite assurances from the HSE, the ambulance service based in Cashel will be stretched to dangerous levels due to proposed HSE changes to the number of ambulance staff on roster and a reduction in Emergency ambulances from two to one.
“This is an issue that I fear is going to have a seriously adverse impact on the health of those within the catchment area which the Emergency Ambulance service based in Cashel serves. I know from discussions I have had that there are attempts by the HSE to move responsibility for the decision to downgrade the number of staff and emergency ambulances on to the staff themselves and this is utterly despicable.
“The fact of the matter is that the HSE is claiming that even with a reduction in emergency ambulances that no effective change will be felt due to the introduction of Intermediate Care Vehicles (ICVs). The reality is in fact very different. For example while these ICVs are wonderful vehicles in themselves they simply do not have the capacity to bring a patient to hospital.
“So we are left with the dangerous situation where if the planned reduction of emergency ambulances from two to one goes ahead then that will mean that when this single ambulance is out on call the whole area has no emergency ambulance serving it.
“We need urgent clarification on this issue and also the presentation of substantial evidence which will justify the HSE continuing to hold the position that a halving of the amount of emergency ambulances will not negatively impact those who rely on the service,” said Deputy McGrath.