Press Release

SIPTU members in Dublin Fire Brigade warn of ambulance delays at Christmas

Date Released: 02 January 2020

SIPTU members in the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) have warned that lives could be put at risk over the festive period due to ambulance delays resulting from the underfunding of the service and have called for extra resources to be made available.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “Our members in DFB, who are all qualified Firefighter/Paramedics, believe lives will been put at risk due to ambulance delays over the festive season. They have warned that the service has already reached breaking point due to under resourcing and the ongoing impasse between the HSE and Dublin City Council around the funding for the service.

“Our members are extremely frustrated that an agreement brokered earlier this year by ICTU with Dublin City Council, with the assistance of the former Labour Relations Commission Chairman, Kevin Duffy, has not been implemented by Council officials. This agreement dealt with all the concerns raised by Health Information and Quality Authority concerning  the need for the DFB and the National Ambulance Service to have full sight of the available operational ambulance resources of each service.

He added: “The agreement recommended that two additional ambulances be added to DFB fleet with immediate effect. This recommendation was made in May, 2019, and we are still waiting for it to be implemented. We balloted our members in the DFB and they voted overwhelmingly in support of this deal, which was also recommended for acceptance by Dublin City Council management.

“Our members are reporting responding to incidents where patients are informing them that they have had to wait up to four hours for an emergency ambulance. These concerns are shared by the DFB Patient Care and Quality Committee, which includes two eminent clinicians, who have expressed their concerns directly to Dublin City Council. Our Control Room operators are under constant pressure as they continually have to queue emergency cases as all resources are in operation on other calls. This is not acceptable.

SIPTU Dublin Fire Brigade Convenor, Shane McGill, said: “We are calling on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy to remove any impediments to the implementation of the agreement. Our members are also making an urgent request that extra resources are placed at the disposal of the DFB during the festive period because of the increase in incidents at this time period.”


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