Ambulance service urged to resolve staff dispute

Ambulance service urged to resolve staff dispute
Picture Dan Linehan

THE National Ambulance Service (NAS) has been urged to resolve a dispute which has left a Cork town one ambulance crew short for the past nine months.

The Echo reported yesterday that two ambulance crew members in Macroom were suspended more than nine months ago after standing themselves down due to fatigue following a 12-hour shift.

One member of the crew cited health and safety concerns just after a 12-hour shift had ended. They were both put on administrative leave.

The two members were also put on basic pay even though they had not yet been found guilty of anything.

No investigation has been held yet despite the fact it is supposed to do so within four to six weeks after an incident.

Sources told The Echo that no timeline has been set for the investigation and that ambulance services across Cork are constantly understaffed.

Both suspended crew members are members of the NAS Representative Association which is in an ongoing dispute with the HSE over union rights.

Fianna Fáil Cork North-West TD Aindrias Moynihan said this issue has dragged on far too long.

“The ambulance service hasn’t got on with the investigation process and it’s not satisfactory that Macroom is forced to bring in cover from elsewhere,” he told The Echo.

“It’s far from ideal and it’s not acceptable.

“If there is an issue to be investigated, then get on with it,” added Mr Moynihan.

“Investigations should be dealt with quickly so everyone can know where they stand.

“This has been left in a totally unsatisfactory situation.”

The NAS told The Echo that it cannot “comment on individual staff issues in line with HSE policy and confidentiality requirements”.

Mr Moynihan said the response is similar to some he has received to parliamentary questions. “It was a fob off,” he said.

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