Review of Dublin’s ambulance service will proceed, insists Health Service Executive
Statement rejects Siptu claims that review ’suspended’
A joint HSE-Dublin City Council review of the emergency ambulance service was announced last month. Photograph: Alan Betson
A review of Dublin’s emergency ambulance service is proceeding as planned and has not been suspended, the HSE has said.
It said “contrary” to statements by the union Siptu on Monday that the review had been “suspended”, it had commenced and would be completed. However, timeframes had been “revised”.
A joint HSE-Dublin City Council review of the emergency ambulance service was announced last month. It is being conducted by Martin Flaherty, chief executive of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) in England, and by Derek Brady, former county manager in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and was due to be completed by the end of May.
When announced, many saw it as a precursor to the removal of Dublin’s ambulance service from Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB). Most of Dublin’s emergency ambulance service is provided by DFB, on behalf of Dublin City Council, with the HSE’s National Ambulance Service providing the service outside Dublin.
At last month’s Dublin City Council meeting, councillors voted for a suspension of the ambulance review until the HSE’s national capacity review of ambulance services throughout the State – including in Dublin – was completed.
Despite the vote, city manager Owen Keegan said he would “ignore” the will of the councillors and press ahead with the review.
The emergence of a confidential HSE document, outlining plans to remove the ambulance service from DFB “by the end of 2015”, heightened fears among DFB staff.
However, at a demonstration in Dublin on Monday by up to 500 DFB firefighter paramedics, Patricia King, vice-president of Siptu, said Mr Keegan had “suspended” the joint review.
However, in a statement the HSE said: “Despite comments to the contrary, the review of the provision of ambulance services by Dublin Fire Brigade in Dublin city and Dublin county has NOT [HSE’s emphasis] been suspended.
“In consultation with Dublin City Council, the timescales have been revised in order to allow the results of the HSE national ambulance capacity review to inform the recommendations of the Dublin Fire Brigade review.”