Transferring all ambulance service provision to Tallaght “would be a major mistake”

Dublin City Council CEO Owen Keegan’s plans to transfer all call taking and dispatching for ambulances to the national control centre in Tallaght have been blasted in the Dail by Fianna Fail TD Sean Haughey.

The Dublin Bay North TD told the House he believed it “would be a major mistake” to go ahead with the CEO’s plans during a Dail debate last week.

Deputy Haughey said:

“Dublin Fire Brigade provides a fire-based ambulance service. International best practice indicates that combining fire rescue and emergency services greatly improves the response to a crisis, particularly in this age of international terrorism. The chief executive of Dublin City Council, Owen Keegan, wants to see a transfer of all call taking and dispatching for ambulances to the national control centre in Tallaght. This would be a major mistake.

“Problems were identified in the HIQA report published in December 2014, and there were concerns about the existence of two separate control and dispatch processes. We are now at an impasse on this issue.

“The 2015 report of the expert panel on pre-hospital emergency care services in Dublin provides the solution.

“Moving the call and dispatch service to Tallaght from Townsend Street is not acceptable to Dublin Fire Brigade. A technical solution to bring about the required co-ordination is possible. This would cost only approximately €10,000 to €20,000 and should be trialled.

“A transfer to Tallaght would end the fire-based emergency ambulance service and benefits of such a service.

“The practical solution is to provide terminals in both call centres. This would replace the existing telephone contact arrangements. It would show both emergency services the location and availability of ambulances and would ensure the nearest available ambulance is identified.”