Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MP Mickey Brady has requested an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service to discuss concerns regarding Ambulance cover across the area of the Southern HSC Trust.
The MP said: “On Friday, concerns regarding the Ambulance Service were brought to my attention. I immediately sought clarification about Ambulance cover for Newry, Mourne area and South Armagh.
The Ambulance Service have confirmed to me that they “have assessed the level of available cover across the Southern Division and providing cover in the Newry and Kilkeel stations is presenting a challenge tonight”.
“The Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service Michael Bloomfield also informs me that the main reason for the reduced cover is that the Service continue to have over 10% of their operational staff unavailable for work as they follow public health advice in relation to Covid-19.
“Mr Bloomfield indicated that the Ambulance Service has been reliant on staff working additional overtime for several months but that now, this level of overtime is not sustainable and it means on occasions ‘we are unable to provide the planned level of cover in some areas’ ”.
“This is a deeply concerning development”.
Mr Brady said that he had sought an urgent meeting with the Ambulance Service Chief.
“There has to be a very open and and honest conversation about the issues and pressures facing the Ambulance Service.
“This is an important issue for people and communities particularly those in rurally isolated areas.
“The Ambulance Service provide a vital service to the community and it must be able to deliver services to all who need it, particularly to those in emergency situations.
“It is important workforce challenges facing the Ambulance Trust is addressed to ensure vital services continue to be delivered to a high standard.”