Independent TD Mattie McGrath has heavily criticised National Ambulance Service (NAS) management and the HSE for the appalling manner in which they have treated Ambulance Staff at Our Lady’s Hospital Cashel. Deputy McGrath was speaking after consultations he had made about the progress of negotiations to keep the current level of ambulance cover revealed that the staff have been threatened with the unilateral implementation of a new roster agreement despite the protests about the dangers downgrading will bring:
“Despite the best efforts of the ambulance staff to negotiate a fair and flexible level of roster cover the management in NAS and the HSE have decided to respond with threats and intimidation tactics.
They have been instructed that if they fail to submit to the exact roster requirements being sought by management by the 21st April then NAS will serve notice to SIPTU under the Haddington Road Agreement and introduce a 9 person roster that matches the so called ‘activity level in Cashel’ within 3 weeks (21 days) of 21st April 2014.
This effectively means that by the 12th May Cashel ambulance service and the area it serves will only have 1 ambulance at its disposal. This is completely unacceptable and reveals the absolute hypocrisy of the Minister for Health who told me to my face in the Dáil only a matter of weeks ago that there were no plans to downgrade the service at Cashel.
Yet again the HSE and the Minister have been caught talking out of both sides of their mouth. They say one thing in public while pressing ahead with savage and what may prove ultimately to be dangerous cuts.
I wish to say to the ambulance staff that I stand fully committed to them in their continuing resolve to maintain a level of ambulance cover that meets the needs of people on the ground and not some fantasy level of ‘activity levels’ that suit the agenda of NAS and the HSE,” concluded Deputy McGrath.