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Minister defies cuts

HEALTH Minister Roman Kováč has dismissed as "alarmist" statements from ambulance attendants that swingeing cuts in funding to ambulance services could put lives at risk.

Ambulance service heads have in the last week made repeated statements that the number of emergency teams will have to be cut, and the injured or sick will have to wait dangerously longer on emergency call outs because the Health Ministry has cut funding by one third.

But Kováč hit back at ambulance services saying: "These statements are just spreading alarmist information."

He added that more money had actually been given to ambulance services in this year's budget.

As of this year ambulance services have become independent of state hospital budgets, and funds for ambulance teams have been dramatically reduced, some paramedics claim.

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