The unions and staff associations have been looking for a resource study of the Ambulance Service for a number of years and I believe the HSE has finally agreed to such a study.

In these circumstances, there should be no more service cuts and certainly no more service cuts in south Tipperary. I commend the Tipperary Ambulance Action Group which is opposed to the cuts across south Tipperary and came together to campaign on this issue. It has completed a comprehensive study of the ambulance service in south Tipperary. The study confirms that on the basis of the current ambulance service configuration in the county which is based on three stations – Clonmel, Cashel and Tipperary town – the current staffing levels and equipment in those stations, in excess of 55% of the population of south Tipperary cannot be given an adequate service that meets the minimum response times. What does the HSE want to do? On top of a crisis, it wants to introduce further cuts. This is completely ridiculous and I am calling on the Minister to stop any cuts in the ambulance service, not just in south Tipperary but throughout the country, and to ensure that the service is properly funded and staffed.

Full Dail Record of Speech

Deputy Seamus Healy:   I rise to support the motion on the ambulance service requesting adequate funding for the service. Anybody who has an eye to see or an ear to hear knows that the ambulance service is under-funded, under-resourced, understaffed and under-equipped and that it compares unfavourably with our neighbours in Northern Ireland and particularly Scotland. We have about 1,600 staff while Scotland, which has a similar population, has 4,500 staff and double the funding. It is widely accepted that the ambulance service in this country is in crisis. The Minister has looked for a review from HIQA. The unions and staff associations have been looking for a resource study for a number of years and I believe the HSE has finally agreed to such a study.

In these circumstances, there should be no more service cuts and certainly no more service cuts in south Tipperary. I commend the Tipperary Ambulance Action Group which is opposed to the cuts across south Tipperary and came together to campaign on this issue. It has completed a comprehensive study of the ambulance service in south Tipperary. The study confirms that on the basis of the current ambulance service configuration in the county which is based on three stations – Clonmel, Cashel and Tipperary town – the current staffing levels and equipment in those stations, in excess of 55% of the population of south Tipperary cannot be given an adequate service that meets the minimum response times. What does the HSE want to do? On top of a crisis, it wants to introduce further cuts. This is completely ridiculous and I am calling on the Minister to stop any cuts in the ambulance service, not just in south Tipperary but throughout the country, and to ensure that the service is properly funded and staffed.

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