Date Released: 04 April 2014
SIPTU has moved to clarify and correct a number of comments made by Health Service Executive (HSE) representatives concerning the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) Ambulance Service at a meeting today (Thursday, 3rd April) of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health.
SIPTU Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “At the meeting a number of inaccurate statements were made by HSE Director General, Tony O’Brien, and other health officials. Among these was a claim that there is no ‘landgrab’ by the HSE of the DFB Ambulance Service.
“This statement is directly contradicted by a leaked HSE document dated 12th March 2013, which in reference to the DFB Ambulance Service states: ‘Having reviewed these options the HSE now proposes that the service currently provided by Dublin Fire Brigade/Dublin City Council on behalf of the HSE should now be provided directly by the HSE. This document goes on to state that these ‘revised arrangements would be phased in with a target of being fully operational by the end of 2015’.
“The HSE document also states that this proposal will ‘reduce the cost of the service by almost €3 million in revenue costs’. Currently the HSE provide €9 million in funding to Dublin City Council for the provision of DFB’s Ambulance Service, highlighting a planned reduction in the service in the order of 30% by 2015.”
SIPTU Dublin Fire Brigade Convener, Gerry Harris, said: “It was also stated that DFB responses to life threatening ‘Echo’ calls within the 7 minute 59 second recommended response time were running at 58%. However, the 2013 DFB figures for ‘Echo’ calls record that 72.92% were responded to within the recommended time. The latest DFB figures for 2014 indicate that 83% of Echo calls meet the target of 7 minutes 59 seconds target.
“In addition, the HSE figures do not recognise situations where a DFB first responder notifies an ambulance en-route to an incident that it is no longer required and may return to the station. The HSE records such occasions as negative response times. Furthermore, the HSE do not produce figures for when a DFB fire appliance is sent as a first responder to an emergency call where a National Ambulance Service vehicle is also dispatched to the same incident. This information also needs to be disclosed to give a truer picture of the ambulance services in Dublin.
He added: “The HSE assertion that DFB Ambulance Service is ‘not an exemplar service’, is ludicrous and ignores the fact that cities across North America and Europe have modelled their own services on the DFB model.
“It is regrettable that the HSE appear to be more concerned with pursuing their agenda of removing DFB’s Ambulance Service by whatever means, rather than ensuring that the people of Dublin who depend on this service are put first.”
SIPTU is calling for the public to support a protest by members of the DFB Ambulance Service which will take place outside City Hall in Dublin on Monday, 7th April, at 5.00pm.