Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and the HSE, to immediately intervene in order to avoid any further nationwide strike action being taken by the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (Nasra). Deputy McGrath was speaking after Nasra members began a 24 Hour Nationwide stoppage following the continuing refusal of the HSE to grant them the right to have their preferred form of union representation recognised:
“As I understand it, Nasra have already conducted six protests since January as part of its campaign for official recognition by the HSE.
That was six occasions in which the Minister and the HSE could resolved this matter without the need to have ambulance personnel disrupt vital services as the only recourse open to them.
I also understand that the National Ambulance staff were asked to respond to over 34 thousand calls that were put through beyond their scheduled working time in 2018.
This demonstrates the enormous strain that the service is under.
What is even more concerning is the confirmation from the National Ambulance Service that it has been trial running the conversion of decommissioned vehicles with excessive mileage into vehicles that carry emergency equipment.
Surely this gives rise to serious questions about the actual capacity of the ambulance service to function in an effective manner.
The question must now be asked around how the HSE and indeed the Minister for Health have allowed the situation to deteriorate to this extent,” concluded Deputy McGrath.