AMBULANCE crews are demanding an immediate contingency plan to prevent ambulances being stuck outside Cork University Hospital unable to handover patients
The union SIPTU said that ambulances are being delayed from attending emergency situations because of issues in offloading patients at CUH which is often too overcrowded to take patients immediately.
Ambulances have been forced to queue up at CUH on a number of occasions this year amid delays in offloading patients and being unable to answer other calls.
SIPTU representatives have demanded that an immediate contingency plan is put in place to deal with the “unacceptable obstruction of ambulance resources” at CUH.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said:
“Our members are deeply concerned in the CUH and beyond that the overcrowding crisis is now obstructing them from doing their jobs effectively.
“We have an unacceptable situation where ambulance professionals and very expensive equipment is being held up for hours while other patients need immediate care.
“This is not sustainable,” he added.
“We need an immediate contingency plan to deal with this.
“As we enter the winter period this problem is only more likely to get worse and we need action now.
“The reality is we need to see a dramatic increase in bed capacity at CUH to alleviate overcrowding and trolley pressure and to assist our members in the National Ambulance Service in the hand-over of patients.”
SIPTU Industrial Organiser for Cork, Sharon Cregan, said: “Delays for ambulance personnel is becoming more and more frequent at the CUH and this is primarily due to overall lack of capacity in all Cork hospitals."
It was revealed in recent days that just 3.4% and 2.7% of ambulance turnarounds took place within the target of 20 minutes at CUH and Mercy University Hospital respectively last September.
In September 2017, the figures were 8.8% and 21.4% respectively.