Date Released: 05 March 2015
The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, gave a written commitment to SIPTU members in the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) that there would be “full consultation with stakeholders” before any changes to the running of the city’s ambulance service is implemented.
In the communication to SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, last month the Minister states he is a “strong supporter” of Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) and is “very impressed” with the service it provides.
In the letter, sent on 13th February, the Minister states, “I have contacted Martin Dunne, Head of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), who assures me that none of the HIQA recommendations, that relate directly to Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) are being implemented at present, and there will be full consultation with stakeholders.”
Minister Varadkar proposed that Brendan O’Brien and himself should meet to discuss future reforms. However, the proposed meeting did not have a chance to happen before Dublin City Chief Executive, Owen Keegan, declared on Monday, 2nd March, that the DFB ambulance service call and dispatch capacity will be removed and placed under the control of the HSE.
“Despite having assurances from the health minister that there would be no decisions made in the absence of the publication of the two outstanding Ambulance Service reviews, the chief executive Owen Keegan has decided to outsource an integral part of the service” O’Brien said.
Dublin City Council and the Minister have stated that they will consult with workers during the six-month transition period prior to the removal of the call and dispatch service from DFB.
“If consultation happens after the decision is made all you are doing is deciding how to implement the decision. That’s not consultation,” said O’Brien.
SIPTU members in DFB have decided to ballot on strike action in response to the unilateral decision to scrap their ambulance call and dispatch capacity.