Cork paramedic shortage: More than a dozen personnel left ambulance service since the start of 2022

The frontline worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was aware of more than a dozen colleagues who had left the ambulance service this year due to low morale.
Cork paramedic shortage: More than a dozen personnel left ambulance service since the start of 2022

A CORK paramedic has said morale amongst his colleagues is at an all-time low and that several have left the service since the start of the year. Picture Denis Minihane.

A CORK paramedic has said morale amongst his colleagues is at an all-time low and that several have left the service since the start of the year.

The frontline worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was aware of more than a dozen colleagues who had left the ambulance service this year due to low morale.

He said ongoing staff shortage in the city and county meant the situation would only get worse.

“Due to a lack of personnel around the city and county, we are covering huge distances. It is not going to change. It is going to get worse.

“They are not going to be able to get staff. Shifts are dropping everywhere due to a lack of recruitment.

“They are finding it very hard to recruit new staff members because the conditions are so bad,” he claimed.

The paramedic said that with more than a dozen colleagues leaving the ambulance service in the first three months of the year he is also concerned with what he claimed was a low uptake in a national recruitment drive.

“Morale is at an all-time low amongst my colleagues. Colleagues leaving also means we are losing experienced personnel,” he said.

“Ultimately, they felt it was time to move on and they wanted to pursue other job opportunities.

“Before I started in my role, I talked to colleagues who had served with the paramedics over many years who all said it was a great job.

“Current paramedics would be telling prospective employees to stay away as it is not worth it,” he added.

The paramedic said exhausted staff members are regularly required to work beyond their 12-hour-shift.

“The over-runs are the biggest problem. We can’t finish on time, which means we can’t get home to our families.

“When you are at home then you are wrecked because of all the over-runs. You then ask yourself, is it worth it?

“It is not and all my colleagues feel the same.”

The paramedic said he fears the current situation is going to “fall apart”.

“The whole thing is being held together by a bandage which is disappearing now.”

HSE response

A spokesperson for the HSE told The Echo: “Staff members who have a concern about the service are encouraged to speak with their line manager in the first instance. The National Ambulance Service [NAS] are currently running a recruitment campaign until April 8.

“There are a number of supports available to staff that have been enhanced over the last few years in light of the incredible challenges they have faced during the pandemic.

“There is a dedicated workplace health and wellbeing unit that offers a range of support services and programmes specifically tailored for healthcare staff to help support our staff both physically and emotionally through this extremely challenging time and beyond.

“In addition, the employee assistance programme provides confidential counselling support and a referral service for all staff with personal or work-related difficulties. Advice and guidance is also available to managers to support them in managing staff welfare issues.”

The spokesperson said that the NAS has increased its staff numbers each year since 2015, but the demand for its services was also growing.

“Since 2015 the NAS has increased its staff numbers each year. However, each year the level of demand for NAS services is also growing. Recruitment to the NAS is being outpaced by demand for our services, which has grown by almost 30%.

“There is no ready supply of paramedics in Ireland. NAS for the most part must educate their own workforce in their own college,” they said. “There are currently over 200 student paramedics at different stages of the programme.

“The surge in demand has come at a time when staff have also been working hard to support Covid-related swabbing and vaccinations. At this time, the level of demand now exceeds the levels experienced in 2019.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more