DCC must re-engage with Ambulance Forum and resolve DFB EMS dispute

06 March 2017

Labour Dublin City Cllr Alison Gilliland has this evening said:

‘It is imperative that DCC re-engage with Ambulance Forum and resolve DFB EMS dispute before officers are forced to go ahead with their industrial dispute and potentially put citizen’s lives and property at risk.”

‘DCC walked out of the Ambulance Forum in January before the issue of how best Dublin Fire Brigade’s Emergency Medical Service call and dispatch can communicate with the National Ambulance Service’s call and dispatch service in Tallaght. Having working in partnership for over 18 months, DCC, DFB Senior Management and union representatives have come to agreement on the service’s governance arrangements and its funding. This has all now been put in jeopardy.”

“The Ambulance Forum was originally established after DCC CEO Owen Keegan unilaterally decided that DFB EMS call and dispatch should move to the NAS in Tallaght. At this evening’s DCC meeting evidence from the Expert Panel set up to report to the Forum emphasised that moving DFB EMS call and dispatch to the NAS would not only be financially inefficient but highly dangerous from a patient safety perspective – response times would increase and back up from fire appliance paramedics would not be able to be simultaneously deployed. DFB’s call and dispatch is an integral link in the cycle of pre-hospital emergency care management.”

“When asked if the DFB and the NAS systems could talk safely and effectively to each other a Capstone Solutions telecommunications expert, Damien O’Rourke, explained that a simple system could be installed in a couple of weeks that would allow DFB EMS call takers to see available NAS ambulances and electronically request them from Tallaght. This would replace the current telephone system back and forward.”

“This system would address HIQA’s concerns about calls dropping between the two services. It is therefore imperative that DCC return to the Ambulance Forum resolve the matter.”


Cllr Alison Gilliland



The outstanding capacity issues whereby DFB requires at least 4 additional 24/7 crewed ambulances to meet current call demands still remains awaiting funding from Minister Harris.

The solution presented by Capstone at the DCC meeting was not included in the final report despite it having been submitted by Capstone. The report presents several options including many underpinned by the installation of a Multi-Agency Incident Data Transfer system – this system was established in the UK over 15 years ago to support legacy systems and would take almost 2 years to install here at considerable expense – the details in this report warrant detailed analysis

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