independent

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Campaign to save town's ambulance gathers pace

Published 24/07/2013 | 05:36

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ALMOST 9,000 signatures have been collected in the latest public effort to save the threatened Kenmare ambulance service.

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ALMOST 9,000 signatures have been collected in the latest public effort to save the threatened Kenmare ambulance service.

The signatures were collected by Save Our Kenmare Ambulance (SOAK) in Kenmare town and further afield, across the Iveragh and Beara peninsulas. They call for the availability of a 24/7 ambulance service with patient carrying capacity in the busy tourist town and across south Kerry.

SOAK PRO Des Flynn said he was delighted at the response and is thankful to all who signed the petition which now gives the organisation a mandate to further local concerns.

"The availability of a 24/7 patient carrying capacity service is what we want and this shows the depth of public support on the issue," he stated.

"All we are getting is a standard response from the National Ambulance Service as their tactic is not to engage until they are ready to do so. Our concern, though, is that they will be a long way down the road to a 'fait accompli'," the SOAK representative added.

Ambulance services in south Kerry region are next in line for reorganisation following a labour court recommendation in 2011. While no final decision has been made - the Ambulance Service says there will be full consultation before any changes - it is understood that there are proposals to replace ambulances with Rapid Response Vehicles' at certain times.

The change could leave the Kenmare area without an ambulance service with patient carrying capacity for a portion of the week.

It follows fears printed in The Kerryman last week that Killarney is to lose its second ambulance to be replaced with an Intermediary Care Vehicle, labelled a "glorified minibus" by Cllr Niall O'Callaghan.

SOAK's petition has already been presented and discussed with Deputy Michael Healy Rae and is to be presented to Senator Mark Daly later this week, as well as to other elected representatives.

SOAK was formed following a public meeting held in Scoil Pobail Inbhear Sceine in April and the group has called on the National Ambulance Service to meet and clarify the situation. Volunteers say they also want their political representatives to clarify the situation with the National Ambulance Service.

"We're getting very bad feedback and stock responses from the National Ambulance Service even though this has been raised in the Dáil and Seanad," Mr Flynn continued.

For more information on SOAK, search for 'Save Our Ambulance Kenmare' on Facebook or visit www.SOAK.ie.

Kerryman

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