Date Released: 18 March 2014
SIPTU members in Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) are extremely concerned at the contents of a document drawn up by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in March 2013 which proposes to remove the delivery of Dublin's ambulance service from Dublin Fire Brigade, by 2015. SIPTU has called for a fully independent review of the service to include agreed terms of reference, stakeholder representation and persons with fire based emergency medical experience.
SIPTU Organiser, Brendan O'Brien, said: "The emergence of this document raises concerns that the outcome of the HSE/Dublin City Council review of DFB ambulance service, which was announced in February, has already been decided. It strongly indicates that this review is merely to provide a fig leaf to the HSE and Dublin City Council in their apparent plans to remove this service from Dublin Fire Brigade.
"Also of concern to our members is that there has only been one additional ambulance provided to the DFB ambulance fleet over the last 20 years, despite the massive increase in the population throughout the Dublin area during this time."
DFB SIPTU representative, Glen Ellis, said: "Despite the holding up of ambulances at hospital accident and emergency units, DFB has been able to provide a level of service which is above the national average and compares favourably to best international standards. This is achieved by the internationally recognised Fire based Emergency Medical Service which is provided by DFB.
"DFB receives 7% of the total National Ambulance Service budget despite having to respond to 40% of all ambulance calls nationally. This is done through the provision of 12 DFB ambulances, supported by the Dublin Fire Service."
DFB SIPTU Convenor, Gerry Harris, said: "The management of the HSE would be better served by concentrating on providing the necessary resources for our colleagues in the National Ambulance Service prior to placing a focus on the DFB. For over 100 years the DFB has provided an ambulance service which has strived to provide the best outcomes possible to the people of Dublin. Currently, the DFB achieves an above national average survival rate for victims of cardiac arrest. The success of the service has resulted in it being replicated by fire services internationally with shared fire/ambulance services being established throughout the UK, Europe and North America."