Irish people have been called on to help ambulance crews in the wake of the surge caused by the Covid-19 Omicron wave.
SIPTU and Irish Ambulance Representative Council (IARC) representatives expressed concerns at the decision to move to Level 3 surge capacity due to extreme pressure on the National Ambulance Service (NAS).
SIPTU Ambulance Sector Organiser, Ted Kenny, called for the public's help.
“Our members are working night and day to alleviate the pressure on the service and it is vital that the public do all they can to support them. The NAS has four levels of surge escalation. We are now at Level 3 which is quite rare. Nobody wants to go to Level 4. The Health Service Executive (HSE) must do all it can to prevent that from happening.
"The shortfall in capacity is stark and while the HSE can utilise external providers, like the army, fire service, voluntary and private services to help plug the gaps and fill the shortfalls in the immediate term, this is not a long term solution to the capacity issues facing our members and the NAS as a whole. We all know the pressures on the service have sharply increased over the last number of years, yet staffing levels and resources have not kept pace with the demand,” he said.
Peter Ray is Chairman of the Irish Ambulance Representative Council.
“Our members are urging the public to consider all options before calling for an ambulance and that people should only call for an ambulance in emergency situations. Meanwhile, we wish all our members in the NAS who are currently out of work due to contracting Covid-19 a full and speedy recovery,” he said.
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