THE Health Service Executive have confirmed that West Cork will retain four ambulances as services across the region are transferred from an “on-call” to fully rostered “on-duty” system.
The confirmation came today (Monday) from Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington who said that the HSE had confirmed that four emergency ambulances would be retained in West Cork as well as an Advanced Paramedic Transport and a non-emergency routine transfer ambulance both to be based in Bantry.
There had been massive opposition in West Cork to proposed changes that originally provided for two ambulances based in Clonakilty and Bantry covering West Cork supplemented by emergency response vehicles which cannot carry patients.
Skibbereen and Castletownbere where ambulances are currently based were not included in the new plan as bases.
There was widespread opposition to the new plan which led to the setting up of the West Cork Save Our Service (SOS) group which campaigned for the retention of four ambulances.
A number of large campaign meetings and demonstrations were held as well as a bed-pushes from Skibbereen to Bantry and from Skibbereen to Cork University Hospital.
Following the announcement, Deputy Harrington said, “I wish to thank the HSE for their work and diligence in this regard, and their efforts to deliver better services, with the same budget and making our services more efficient, with no closure of ambulance stations.
“Recognition must also go to the co-operation of the staff, to implement these changes, which it is hoped to be rolled out next month.
“These new changes, along with an expanding Air Ambulance service through the Irish Coast Guard should help to re-assure the people of West Cork that their emergency/paramedic requirements are being met and improved.”