Ambulance cover concern

Thursday, 17 August 2017

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A FORMER Coleraine councillor is calling for extra funding for the Ambulance Service amid concerns over the lack of back-up cover in the Northern Trust area.
It has been claimed that from November 2016 until April this year there was no back-up for 121 days out of 181 days. Stations with one full-time ambulance include Ballycastle and Ballymoney.
It has also been reported that on one day last December five ambulance shifts were not covered.
The figures came to light following a Freedom of Information request by East Antrim DUP Assemblyman Gordon Lyons who described them as "startling."
He added: "These figures will rightly be met with a mixture of outrage and concern. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has effectively confirmed that 67 per cent of planned cover from November 2016 to April 2017 was not achieved.
“This means that many of our towns were without any ambulance cover for a significant period of time. It is imperative that those holding up the formation of an Executive get back around the table so that we can address this issue and give our community the confidence it requires in our public services."
But ex-councillor David Barbour, who worked as a Station Officer, Northern Divisional Officer and Regional Executive Officer during 36 years' of ambulance service, stressed that the NIAS had been dogged by "historical under-funding."
*Read the full story in this week's Chronicle


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