Lochside Garage

Fears over ambulance cover

A WORRYINGLY low number of ambulance vehicles are providing cover for both Fermanagh and the Omagh District, it has emerged.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s monthly meeting heard that the Ambulance Service is facing considerable pressures in this area as well as throughout the North in terms of resources.
Currently Fermanagh has three ambulance vehicles available both day and night along with one rapid response vehicle. Omagh is served by four during the day, reduced to two at night along with one rapid response vehicle. Castlederg has one ambulance.
Councillors previously wrote to the Ambulance Service expressing concern that ambulance provision is not available to meet the needs of this community. Members wished to be assured that there are adequate ambulances based in this district council area and sufficient staff available during
both on and off peak times to operate an appropriate level of service.
In response, area manager Laura Coulter highlighted that a significant increase in vehicles and staff across the North is required to continue providing effective and efficient service to the public. She added: “It is estimated that an additional 330 frontline staff will be required to offset the pressures we are facing and therefore we are in the midst of a recruitment process.”
The council have committed to lobby the Department of Health with a view to getting funding released as soon as possible so that more staff and vehicles can be brought into this district.
Sinn Fein Cllr Barry Doherty says these hugely professional ambulance and paramedic teams are being “worryingly overstretched and urgently need more funding to allow them to be the best that they can be”.

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