FINE GAEL Senator Jerry Buttimer has urgently called for the resumption of motorcycle services from the National Ambulance Service (NAS) in Cork.
Speaking to the Seanad this week, Mr Buttimer said he understood there were two paramedics on the unit in Cork, but the service had only been operational for two weeks this year.
Mr. Buttimer asked, “Why is this the case? I call on the HSE to urgently re-establish the Cork unit. The unit provides a rapid response and saves lives.
“Our ambulance service has undergone profound changes in recent times. Traditionally, it was about transporting the patient to the hospital, but today, it is different, it is now a course of care.
“Cork needs these bikes to hit the road seven days a week. Response times will improve.
“They are operated and trained by highly professional paramedics. These paramedics can begin treatment and report before an ambulance arrives.
“In cities like Cork, motorcycles make it easy to navigate narrow, winding streets. “
Mr Buttimer said he heard reports that the problem was due to a lack of staff. Faced with a similar situation, the Dublin Motorcycle Unit received rescue personnel to prevent the unit from leaving the road, Mr Buttimer said.
“It is unacceptable that a city like Cork does not enjoy the same level of service,” he continued.
“It’s about saving lives
Speaking to the Seanad on behalf of Stephen Donnelly, Health Minister Mary Butler, Deputy Minister of Mental Health and Seniors, said that during times of normal operation the NAS has a unit of motorcycle intervention in Cork comprised of two paramedics, but that had changed due to the pandemic.
“I understand that in order to allow the NAS to maintain essential screening and vaccination tests against Covid-19, it was necessary to redeploy the two paramedics in their emergency ambulance response roles, to the support of the global emergency response.
“Although the motorcycle response unit is not in scheduled operation, the NAS said arrangements were being made for additional newly trained personnel to be assigned to the southern region of the NAS.
“On this basis, the NAS predicts that the motorcycle response unit service should be able to resume in the short to medium term,” she said.
Mr Buttimer asked if Ms Butler could get a specific date from HSE, a request she said she would accept.