Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) have been providing an Ambulance service to the citizens of the city and county since 1898. All Firefighters in the DFB are also paramedics and they rotate between fire and ambulance duties.
The Dublin city manager Mr. Owen Keegan has announced that he wants a review of the Dublin Fire Brigades ambulance service despite the fact that the elected city councillors voted to suspend his review looking for a capacity review of the national ambulance service. Mr. Keegan's response was that he would go ahead with the review regardless of the democratic vote.
Balbriggan.net spoke to Ian Lawless, Balbriggan native and full time Firefighter / Paramedic based in Swords Fire station who welcomes intervention from Cllr Malachy Quinn and the recent statement and show of support from Darragh O'Brien TD, Cllr Eoghan O'Brien and Cllr Brian Dennehy who on a resent visited Swords station. Mr Lawless went on to say:
“The removal of call taking and ambulance dispatch from Dublin Fire Brigade will have a huge effect on our Community and the residents of Balbriggan, Skerries and surrounding areas will suffer consequences.
Currently the Balbriggan or Skerries based fire service are alerted and respond to medical emergencies and provide care to the patient whilst awaiting the arrival of an ambulance - that will no longer be the case.
If a person suffers a cardiac arrest the local fire service are mobilised with Advanced Cardiac Responders and a defibrillator on board within 5 minutes - that will no longer be the case, the nearest ambulance will be dispatched - which could have to travel from Swords or further afield.”
The following statement was issued to Balbriggan.net by Cllr Malachy Quinn who welcomed the majority support at January’s full meeting of Fingal County Council for his motion in support of the retention of the Dublin Fire Brigade Ambulance service in Fingal & necessary investment in fully staffed additional vehicles.
Support for investment & retention of Dublin Fire Brigade Ambulance service in Fingal – Cllr Quinn
Cllr Malachy Quinn (North Fingal) welcomed the majority support at January’s full meeting of Fingal County Council for his motion in support of the retention of the Dublin Fire Brigade Ambulance service in Fingal & necessary investment in fully staffed additional vehicles.
Cllr Quinn said:
“ I am very pleased to have received support for my motion regarding the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) Ambulance Service.”
“Following the publication of a HIQA report in December 2014 into Pre Hospital Emergency Care Services. Dublin City Council established a consultative Forum under an Independent Chair to address the HIQA Recommendations. The Panel considered submissions from Dublin City Council on behalf of Dublin Local Authorities, the HSE, Dublin Fire Brigade Management & SIPTU/ IMPACT Jointly.
The Recommendations presented major challenges for all involved. It was widely recognised that both the National Ambulance Service ( NAS) & Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) had a long history of excellent Patient Care, that history together with their statutory authorities demanded that each be treated with parity of esteem.”
“The funding & Corporate Governance of both providers was reviewed – the forum was of the view that all financing for DFB Ambulance service should come from the Dept of Environment, Community & local Government, with funding for the NAS coming from the Department of Health. The Funding for both services should in turn come under the auspices of the Dept of Public Expenditure & Reform. A change in Governance Structures was required to reflect the change in financing also.”
“It was also noted that HIQA did not propose that either the NAS or the DFB assume overall control of the Clinical governance, with this in mind, the recommendation from DFB that the emergency services provided by DFB be directly funded by central government in order to address the funding challenges that had existed was made “.
The HIQA report identified issues around capacity which DFB also recognise as it biggest challenge, in view of this DFB had recommended that an additional 4 ambulances & 4 rapid response vehicles were required to satisfy demands of an ever increasing population both Fingal & the greater Dublin Area.
With over a hundred years of experience in the provision of Emergency Medical Service, The removal of any element of DFB’s Fire Based EMS systems would have an adverse effect on patient care, I would recommend that both call taking / dispatch models be retained therefore an integrated technical solution be developed that would ensure a common view of call signs & status across both systems operated by both DFB & NAS.”
Cllr Quinn concluded
“The biggest concern of myself is the privatisation agenda that has overshadowed our Health Service, is at play here. A patient needs to be assessed medically rather than financially in all aspects of our Health Service.”
Deputy Darragh O'Brien TD, Cllr Eoghan O'Brien and Cllr Brian Dennehy who visited No.13 Swords Fire Station, to express their support for the retention of the control of our Fire Based EMS service. Issued the following statement to Balbriggan.net
Life-saving Dublin Fire Brigade services must be sustained – O’Brien
- HSE proposal to merge services could have negative impact on North County –
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has expressed his support for the full retention of services provided by Dublin Fire Brigade across the city and particularly in Swords, Skerries and Balbriggan.
The Deputy made his comments following a recent visit to Swords Fire Station with party colleagues Cllr Brian Dennehy and Cllr Eoghan O’Brien.
“Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) has been providing crucial ambulance services to the citizens of the city and North County since 1898. They now operate with life-saving equipment and over 800 trained firefighter paramedics work to provide immediate medical assistance to members of public in need of treatment 24/7, 365 days a year. Staff must be lauded for their ability to respond to thousands of emergency calls across the capital every year,” added the Deputy.
“I am deeply concerned by plans revealed by the HSE which propose to remove the delivery of Dublin’s ambulance service from Dublin Fire Brigade and instead merge the service with the National Ambulance Service. This proposal could have a huge negative impact on our area and the delivery of services from the DFB call centre must be retained.
“I strongly oppose any move to withdraw resources during a period of increased responsibility and de-creasing budgets which make operating adequate services a near impossible task.
“On my visit to the station In Swords, I reinforced my party’s support of DFB, DFB Ambulance and its entire staff and crew.
“We must protect those in Swords Fire Station who provide a full-time fire, rescue, and ambulance service which serves our whole community,” concluded the Deputy.
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