Ambulance crews walk out of base in Carrick-on-Shannon

Almost a week has passed since the ambulance crews in Carrick- on-Shannon walked out of their base in Cortober on health and safety grounds.

The eight personnel are in dispute with management over conditions in their ambulance station and from 8am on Thursday, May 16, staff have refused to use the station building until their concerns have been resolved.

There is currently no ambulance based in south Leitrim but the area will be serviced by the crews now stationed in Boyle. The crews raised health and safety issues with regard to the station last October and their concerns have still not been resolved despite a number of assurances from the HSE at the time.

Staff are understood to have initially sat in the ambulances outside the station awaiting call outs on Thursday before the crews on duty were moved to the ambulance base in Boyle.

No discussions have taken place between management and the union since then but a source told the Leitrim Observer they expect talks to take place in the coming days to try and overcome the impasse.

Meanwhile, Cllr Brendan Barry has described the situation as “unbelievable.”

“Ambulance crews were moved to their existing base across the bridge and they raised a number of concerns at the time about health and safety issues.
“They were told that these would be addressed but their concerns have yet to be resolved," he said.

“It doesn't reflect very well on the HSE that this situation has arisen. Ambulance crews should not be forced into a situation where they feel they cannot use their station and they must sit in their ambulances.

“The HSE has to speak with the crews and address their concerns immediately,” Cllr Barry said.

The Observer broke the story online last Friday and the action taken by the ambulance crews has gathered strong support from the public.

Posting on the Observer's Facebook page, Breda Duffy McNulty said: “They provide a vital service in this community their concerns should be addressed! Ridiculous with the long hours they work that they felt they had no other choice but to sit in there Ambulance resulting in no down time between calls!”

Cathy McLaughlin commented: “Ambulance will still go to people in need of ambulance whenever. It's the situation of their base is the problem and to me I can understand, especially on a Sunday, often seen their entrance /exit blocked by parked cars and even sometimes when traffic get backed up on Elphin Road due to not being given way to at roundabout. Those extra minutes could be vital.”

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