Legal Issues Block ‘Maggie’s Call’ Rollout

Health Minister Robin Swann announced Maggie’s appeal last month in memory of five-year-old Maggie Black, who died in December 2021 in Carnlough, County Antrim, after waiting more than a time an ambulance arrived.

Some 20,000 people have signed a petition supporting the initiative.

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Picture of Health Minister Robin Swann at Carnlough Fire Station, County Antrim with Sheenagh Black and members of the local community with a copy of their Maggies Call petition

Making the announcement last month, Mr Swann said: ‘There is undoubtedly an overlap between the skills and abilities of firefighters and the needs of health bodies in Northern Ireland, including the ambulance service. .

“Any potential for firefighters to use existing capabilities and the skills they possess to achieve better health outcomes is worth considering.”

But Mervyn Storey, MP for North Antrim DUP, said the fire chief had put the deployment on hold after receiving legal advice.

Responding to questions from the Minister of Health in the Assembly, Mr Swann said he was aware of correspondence between the fire chief regarding the legal issues raised by the firefighters’ union in relation to Maggie’s appeal.

“It is unfortunate that this blocks what has been, I think, a very proactive campaign by Maggie Black’s family and a willingness by the Carnlough Brigade and the station as well to deploy her as quickly as possible,” he said. -he declares.

Mr Storey urged Mr Swann to give assurances that fire stations would receive adequate training and that all resources would be put in place to ensure no liability to firefighters.

The minister replied: ‘I can give this pledge to the member because it was actually a joint initiative between the Fire and Rescue Service of Northern Ireland and the Ambulance Service of Ireland du Nord and it was actually the ambulance service that provided this training and it was specifically for cardiac response.

“It was the boards. The presidents of the two organizations worked together to ensure that both were satisfied that what was being provided was to a standard which gave them confidence, as counsel, that they could give me assurance that They were happy with the aim of Maggie’s Call, to make sure we can see people as quickly as possible.

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