Fearon calls on Minister to fund Crossmaglen First Responders

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Monday, April 11th, 2016
Community, Politics
South Armagh MLA Megan Fearon has said the Health Minister should now consider funding the Crossmaglen First Responders group. fearon14The Health Minister Simon Hamilton mentioned the group when responding to a question from the Sinn Féin representative about ambulance cover in South Armagh. At the time Ms Fearon said it was “astonishing that the Minister is now relying on a community group that was set up to try and offset the potentially tragic consequences of his failure to provide proper ambulance cover for South Armagh.” Speaking after being contacted by another constituent who faced a two hour wait for an ambulance Fearon said if the Minister is going to rely on the First Responders then he should at least fund them. “I was absolutely shocked when the Minister, who has not contributed one penny towards the First Responders, mentioned them when answering a question on ambulance cover in South Armagh,” she said. “If he is going to rely on groups in this way then the very least he can do is offer them some sort of funding and I would call on him to meet with the First Responders at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss how he can do that,” she stated. “While the First Responders do an excellent job in the area they cover, the fact is they cannot be a replacement for adequate ambulance cover. No sooner had the story last week about the guitarist who had a heart attack gone out when I was contacted by another constituent with another horror story. “Apparently a man was struck with a car in Culloville on Easter Sunday. The Rapid Response Vehicle arrived in approximately half an hour but it was two full hours before the ambulance arrived. “The paramedic in the RRV was so concerned about the man that he had to be moved and taken to a nearby house for fear the cold would worsen his situation. These are not isolated anecdotes; ambulance cover in South Armagh is consistently substandard,” the local MLA insists.
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CountryFest gifs“This is an issue Sinn Féin has been campaigning on for several years and while there was an improvement it seems to be slipping backward. We succeeded in getting an RRV into the area but it is now shared with another area and is not even stationed here anymore. “This is a shameful state of affairs and in an emergency situation where every minute counts it’s only a matter of time before inadequate ambulance cover in South Armagh leads to someone losing their life. Fearon added, “The Minister must accept that this issue will not be quietly going away and either he or his successor is going to have to deal with it.”
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