independent

Friday 19 September 2014

Ambulance campaigns gather pace

Kevin Hughes

Published 04/09/2013 | 05:36

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AMBULANCE campaigners were in a crunch meeting with ambulance officials on Tuesday night to discuss the future direction of the under pressure service due for overhaul in the coming months.

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AMBULANCE campaigners were in a crunch meeting with ambulance officials on Tuesday night to discuss the future direction of the under pressure service due for overhaul in the coming months.

Ambulance services in south Kerry are next in line for reorganisation following a labour court recommendation in 2011. According to the HSE, no final decision on plans has been made and while it is understood there are proposals to replace ambulances with Rapid Response Vehicles, until last night, proposals had been kept under wraps.

National Ambulance Service representatives were meeting with local healthcare professionals and local public representatives at St Columbanus' in Killarney as The Kerryman went to print and three representatives from lobby group Save Our Kenmare Ambulance (SOAK) had also been invited.

Speaking before the meeting, SOAK Chairman Michael Hayes said the group would listen to suggestions tabled but would not stop short of its "bottom line: "The basic target is to have a 24/7 ambulance in Kenmare with patient carrying capacity, it's as simple as that." he stated.

"We're against proposals for fast responders as they merely slow things up. For instance if there is a serious accident in Sneem the fast responder would first attend, followed by an ambulance which will have to travel a long distance and transport the casualty or casualties to Cork or Tralee, that's up to three hours in total," he continued.

The chairman, who was joined by vice chairman Billy Bevin and John F O'Sullivan, also revealed that the group opposed any proposal for 'dynamic deployment' with ambulances rotated between sites based on predicted needs.

The HSE, meanwhile, says any changes will be done in consultation with GPs, health professionals, public representatives, community leaders and other community groups, with the aim of reassuring people that the changes will have a positive impact in south Kerry.

Representatives of the SOAK campaign recently presented a 8,500 signature SOAK petition to public representatives who have all have pledged their full support to the group.

Kerryman

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