Dundalk ambulance station impacted by 'crisis' in staff numbers
The North East Ambulance Service station in Dundalk is among nine stations that have been impacted by a "crisis" in staffing numbers, according to Louth TD Declan Breathnach.
“I raised the matter when I was made aware of a situation whereby staff were unable to respond to calls due to a lack of staff and a lack of vehicles being available", the local TD said in a statement to the Democrat.
He continued: "For instance, on Wednesday night, within the nine stations in the north east a total of 22 staff should have been rostered for duty. Unfortunately, there were only 12 and in most cases they were rostered on a single person basis.
"Stations affected last night included those in Drogheda, Ardee, Virginia, Monaghan, Castleblayney and Dundalk. One staff member cannot man or take out an ambulance except to act as first responder in the event of a cardiac arrest."
According to Deputy Breathnach the problem has been ongoing for some time now.
“This problem began approximately eight months ago, when management informed the staff in Monaghan and Castleblayney stations that new rosters were to be introduced without delay bringing six new staff in total to the region."
Deputy Breathnach added: "However, in November management then said they had never agreed to six new staff and instead appointed two to Monaghan and two to Castleblayney. New rosters were eventually agreed and put into place. The rosters have become operational but no new staff have been provided to populate these rosters.
"It has been described to me as like putting an amount of orange cordial into a larger amount of water. It might look all right but it does not taste the same. The service now has the same staff attempting to fill a bigger roster. They were already short staffed beforehand so this has added greatly to this serious problem.
“I also highlighted the problem of the lack of an ambulance in Castleblayney. The new roster came with the understanding by staff that an ambulance would be provided to complete the roster. Staff were recently told that this ambulance is now not available and that they should use the ambulances they have.
“While the Minister gave assurances in relation to additional staff, I did not receive a commitment in relation to additional vehicles. I will continue to monitor this situation and will pursue the issue of the necessity for an additional ambulance vehicle.