SIPTU members working in the National Ambulance Service have today (Friday, 6th April) stated that they will reject an attempt by the Government to extend their legal retirement age beyond 65 unless a proper evaluation of the full impact of such a measure is undertaken. SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Our members are determined to engage with Government on their intention to extend the legal retirement age for public servants from 65 to 70 years of age. Members of the public may not be aware that the normal retirement age of ambulance professionals employed by the Health Service Executive is 65 unlike members of the Fire Service, Defence Forces or An Garda Síochána. This is unacceptable and we will be campaigning for parity of esteem with other frontline emergency workers.” He added: “The job of an ambulance professional is both stressful and physical by its nature. The occupation requires shift work, long hours and this contributes to a degree of burnout. It is also necessary to understand that ambulance professionals require continual academic training and education which bring their own pressures.”  “Our demands are simple. We want an independent study on the physical ability of ambulance professionals to perform the full range of life saving duties at more than 65 years of age. It must also include an analysis of international best practice, as well as comparing the role with the Fire Service, Defence Forces, Prison Officers and An Garda Síochána all of which are exposed to similar working environments.”