Protest at plan for ambulance services
SOME 300 people gathered in Skibbereen yesterday to witness the departure of a four-day march against proposed changes to the west Cork ambulance service. The march involves a group pushing a stretcher and dummy to Cork University Hospital 90km away, where a demonstration will be staged on Saturday.
The West Cork SOS march, which consists of a core group of 12, was joined by supporters in towns and villages along the N71.
The HSE’s proposed changes will end the on-call system and introduce an on-duty system that will see paramedics rostered to cover the area full-time.
Ambulance and rapid-response vehicles will be “dynamically deployed” by the HSE, meaning they will be located in areas where they are most likely to be required. However, West Cork SOS believes replacing the ambulance in Skibbereen from 8pm to 8am with a rapid-response vehicle goes against the HSE’s own policy on response times.
The group reacted angrily to Cork South West FG TD Jim Daly, who described the march as “opportunistic and reckless scaremongering”.
“Mr Daly has consistently toed the party line, the HSE and the ministerial line in order not to rock the gravy train that the people who elected him and who now need his help put him on,” said West Cork SOS chairman Frank Fahy.