Swords ambulance service a 'lottery'

CALL FOR REVERSAL OF HSE CUTS

JOHN MANNING

Published 23/10/2012 | 15:08

Cuts have been made to the Swords ambulance service.

WITH CUTS to the Swords ambulance service on Tuesday nights, getting sick in the county capital is now a ' lottery' with winners and losers depending on which day of the week you fall ill.

That was the view of Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) called for the reversal of HSE cuts to the Swords ambulance service which sees the ambulance clock off for 12 hours on a Tuesday leaving the only HSE ambulance cover coming from Loughlinstown. He said the ambulance served 50,000 people in Fingal and said it was now ' like a lottery where we can't have anyone having a heart attack or a stroke on a Tuesday'. He called on the HSE and Minister for Health, James Reilly TD to reverse the cuts.

Cllr Kieran Dennison (FG) said to have a fire ambulance and HSE ambulance both stationed in Swords was 'duplication of services' and he said that one of the other should be stationed in Balbriggan. Cllr May McKeon agreed that there was need for an ambulance in the north of the county. But raising the recent row over the provision of primary health care facilities in Swords and Balbriggan, Cllr Joan Maher (FG) said that Cllr Butler's motion called on the Minister for Health to 'overrule the HSE and leave himself open to more accusations of stroke politics'. Cllr Lavin said that if councillors supported this, he was 'surprised' they haven't been supportive of the minister's attempts to improve other health facilities in the county.

Cllr Tom Kelleher (Lab) said he supported Cllr Butler's call for a reversal of the cuts while Cllr Eoghan O'Brien (FF) said it was ' laughable' and a 'pathetic smoke screen' to compare the call for the reversal of this cut to the primary care 'saga'. He said questions remained on the primary care issue and that they are being 'dodged'. Ultimately the call to reverse the cuts to the ambulance service in Swords was agreed by councillors and Fingal County Council will now write to the HSE making the feelings of the elected members of the council known on the issue.

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