Reckless and opportunistic scaremongering central to West Cork ambulance protests

Needs of a minority of vested interests should never supersede the common good.

Fine Gael Cork South West Deputy, Jim Daly, has described as reckless and opportunistic plans to hold a bed push from Skibereen to Cork City to protest against planned changes to the ambulance service. Deputy Daly accused those responsible for the protest of scaremongering for no other reason than attracting cheap headlines on a very emotive issue.

“I have examined the proposals by the HSE in great detail and I am fully confident that these changes will lead to improved response times to emergencies, an increase in the number of paramedics working in west Cork and a superior transport system for patients. This is not a cost saving measure but a long overdue development which will ensure no paramedic has to work a 17 hour shift, which led to a single vehicle accident last week. These changes cannot come quickly enough as far as I am concerned.

“The people who are behind the current campaign to ‘resist change’ are demonstrating absolute recklessness and have proven themselves to be completely opportunistic. They are endangering lives in the short term by pushing a stretcher along the main N71 against Garda advice and in the long term, by delaying change which will deliver a far superior system of response to medical emergencies.

“This is a complicated transitional arrangement already working very successfully in east Cork despite a considerable amount of opposition there too. The bottom line is simple, the needs of a minority of vested interests cannot and should not supersede the common good.

“The new system proposed by the National Ambulance Service will put an end to the current ‘on call’ system which sees paramedics called from home to the ambulance base in response to emergency calls. There are currently four such ambulances in west Cork. The new system will see the elimination of this system which will be replaced with three ‘on duty’ ambulances and a rapid response car.

“As a parent I know myself that I would sleep a lot safer in my bed at night relying on a system of three on duty ambulances and a rapid response car rather than the current system which often takes up to twenty minutes for on call paramedics to mobilise the ambulance.”