Fianna Fáil candidate for Wicklow Cllr. Jennifer Cuffe has slammed the treatment of non-roster paramedics which is resulting in devastating understaffing in the ambulance service.
“I was horrified to learn from a woman in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, who suffers a long term illness which leaves her comatose, that her ambulance regularly pulls in on the N11 to be met by a Rapid Responder on a motorbike as there are no paramedics on board her ambulance. This is a shocking indictment of how this Government has left our health service in 2016.
“In recent weeks, representatives of my party have been contacted by concerned personnel in the ambulance service working in Wicklow, Loughlinstown and Arklow. I discovered the precarious non-roster contracts under which many of the paramedics in the National Ambulance Service work. These frontline workers have no permanent place of work, can be moved from base to base on short notice, and have great strain put on their personal and family lives.
“Since the national transfer policy was introduced in November 2014, not one vacant position has been filled in the region. That’s eleven bases with numerous vacant lines on their rosters. I learned of one paramedic who has worked in four ambulance stations since 2011. These positions should be filled with staff put on permanent full time contracts.
“The current situation leaves patients unsafe and staff overworked, poorly treated and suffering low morale. Frontline workers like paramedics deserve to treated fairly, and these non-roster contracts must be scrapped. We know that this Government has failed patients and staff in our health service, and now we learn they have also failed paramedics.
“Fianna Fáil is committed to a properly funded National Ambulance Service with staff on secure permanent contracts. This is an issue the Government cannot leave in the dark any longer. In Government my party will end this scandal and build an Ireland for all.”