New research shows that at least 60% of South Tipperary is not covered for critical life-saving emergency ambulance call-outs.
The study, carried out by Tipperary Ambulance Action Group (TAAG), claims this level of coverage could deteriorate further.
It’s understood the National Ambulance Service (NAS) has approved the removal of paramedic shifts in both Clonmel and Tipperary Ambulance Stations. The move could leave “unmanned ambulances inoperable,” says TAAG spokesman Niall Gregory. “TAAG has been in regular contact with NAS since early this year to seek confirmation on proposed reductions to the area’s ambulances and paramedic work shifts. On the face of it appears that there are no reductionsto the Ambulance Service, while anecdotal evidence shows that ambulances numbers and crew rosters are being reduced across the board. More recently the staff rosters in both Clonmel and Tipperary Ambulance Stations have been cut, meaning there are less ambulances available.” As a result of the lack of information, TAAG undertook its own review of South Tipperary.
It found that in relation to the 18 minutes 59 seconds call target, that the county is reasonably well covered, but subject to immediate availability of ambulance and paramedics. However, the results are “devastating” with regard to the critical life-saving Echo and Delta Calls, with average achievable distances for Cashel, Clonmel and Tipperary respectively being 12.7Km, 11.1Km and 10.8Km. This is also subject to immediate availability of ambulance and paramedics. When the area of coverage is compared to the population densities across South Tipperary - based upon the 2011 Population Census - these three stations service just 40 to 45% of the reachable population. That is 11,000 people in the Cashel area, 23,000 for Clonmel and 6,000 for Tipperary Town – out of a total population of 88,000. TAAG is calling on NAS to seek no further reductions in its fleet, or staff levels.