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Changes to 999 ambulance ‘no danger to lives’

I would like to reassure the people of the Downpatrick area, in the wake of last week’s headlines, that the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service does not believe lives will be put in danger by new proposals for emergency care.



We understand their chief executive, Liam McIvor, clarified this at the NIAS board meeting and that he will be writing to a local councillor.

As part of our consultation process, the NIAS has submitted a considered document, detailing all factors which would have to be taken into account should the proposals go ahead.

Whenever there is a change to a service which has transport implications, we plan with the ambulance service.

The trust has been very open about the proposal to introduce a new urgent care model in the Downe emergency department between 10pm and 8am. We have said that two patients-a-night are likely to be affected, while 97% of users will see no change.

We have also been open in saying the present staffing model is unsustainable and if we do not implement changes, there will be a night or a weekend soon when we cannot find sufficient staff and the unit may have to close. This possibility is where the fears and concerns should be directed.

HUGH McCAUGHEY

Chief executive, South Eastern HSC Trust

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