herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

One ambulance for over 300,000 in north Dublin

A Dublin Fire Brigade ambulance
A Dublin Fire Brigade ambulance

A delay in opening a new HSE facility will leave more than 300,000 people in north county Dublin depending on a single ambulance based in the area.

A HSE ambulance base was expected to open in Lissenhall, north of Swords, last week, but a lack of "basic amenities" has meant that National Ambulance Service staff are unable to work out of the facility.

Fianna Fail Senator Darragh O'Brien described the situation as "completely unacceptable", adding that "someone will end up dead" due to the lack of ambulances for the area.

The new ambulance base - which replaces an old facility on the site - cost approximately €500,000 to build, but lacks tables, chairs, storage facilities for equipment and beds for staff.

Two crews consisting of four staff each that were scheduled to work out of the Lissenhall base are currently working out of St James' Hospital on the southside.

A Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) ambulance working out of the Swords fire station has been tasked with looking after the north county Dublin area.

The HSE has insisted it's National Ambulance Service is still serving north county Dublin but could not give a date for when the Swords facility will open.

DFB ambulances from north city stations, including those in Phibsborough and Finglas, can provide emergency cover if required.

The Fingal County Council area covers 448 square kilometres, and includes large towns as well as rural areas.

Stretched

"An area of over 300,000 people is depending on a single DFB ambulance, and it is putting lives at risks. The DFB staff provide a great service, but their numbers are stretched already and it's ridiculous to expect one ambulance to cater for such a large area," said Mr O'Brien.

According to the Senator, the station was due to open on Tuesday last week.

"I've been told that the situation will take around two months to deal with, meaning that just one DFB ambulance will be dedicated for the north Dublin area.

"The HSE ambulance staff do a great job and they can not be expected to work out of a facility that doesn't even have a table inside," he added.

A spokeswoman for the DFB confirmed that they are aware of the issue, and that they will continue to provide an ambulance from their Swords station.

"The issue is an operational issue for the NAS (HSE National Ambulance Service) that DFB is aware of, Dublin Fire Brigade will continue to provide the DFB Emergency Ambulance from our Swords station in conjunction with our integrated Fire/EMS (Emergency Medical Service) service," the spokeswoman said.

A HSE spokeswoman insisted that the north Dublin area is currently served by its ambulances and that they will continue to do so.

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