Independent TD Mattie McGrath has condemned management at the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and the HSE for bringing to a devastating conclusion all recent attempts at maintaining the level of ambulance cover out of Our Lady’s Hospital in Cashel. Deputy McGrath was speaking after receiving confirmation that despite the attempts of the ambulance personnel to negotiate a compromise solution, the NAS and the HSE followed through with their threats to remove one of the two ambulances from the hospital:
“This is the worst possible outcome for the people of South Tipperary and all those who have come to rely on the availability of ambulance cover from Our Lady’s.
In early March the ambulance staff in Cashel submitted a revised roster to management that would have actually seen increased cover from the current position of 8am to 4pm to 12 mid-day to 12 midnight.
This was an increase of 4 extra hours cover and yet it was rejected because the National Management Service seemed determined to reduce the overall staff numbers from 11 to 9. We now know officially that that was indeed the case.
In light of the recent and indeed on-going controversy surrounding the chronic over-crowding in South Tipperary General and attempts to open step down beds in Cashel, this will be seen as an even more devastating announcement.
What on earth are the HSE and the NAS playing at by their pursuit of this utterly ruthless approach? Have they no sense of the scale of the challenges that already exist without adding to those challenges in such a brutal manner by the removal of the ambulance cover?
I cannot applaud the ambulance personnel and their mediation team for the strenuous efforts they have made to engage in a conciliatory fashion.
It is another classic example, just like the assault on GP services, of the HSE and the Minister for Health driving through an agenda that the people on the ground know will be disaster.
I genuinely fear now for the well-being of anyone having to rely on swift and timely response times in South Tipperary, because with this measure now being official the risk factor just tragically multiplied,” concluded Deputy McGrath.