Belfast Telegraph

Ambulance service urged to tackle ‘major staffing problems’ at operations centre

Siptu said NEOC is 35 workers below the agreed level across two sites.

A trade union has asked the National Ambulance Service to deal with “major staffing problems” in the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).

Siptu said the centre, which takes emergency calls and dispatches ambulances across Ireland, is 35 workers below the agreed level across two sites.

On Friday, the union wrote a letter to the National Ambulance Service regarding their concerns over the sites in Tallaght, Dublin and Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.

Siptu organiser John McCamley claimed that delays implementing an agreement between management and the union over staffing issues had contributed to a high staff turnover.

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He said: “Currently, the NEOC, which operates across two sites in Tallaght in Dublin and Ballyshannon in County Donegal, is below its agreed staffing level by 35 workers.

“In 2016, a similar deficit led to an industrial dispute at its operation centre in Tallaght.

“Following that dispute, an agreement was reached between management and Siptu members to resolve the staffing issues.

“Unfortunately, a number of delays in implementing parts of this agreement have contributed to a continuing high turnover of staff, particularly in the emergency call taker grade.”

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “All our members in the National Ambulance Service provide a vital service in sometimes very stressful conditions.

“However, many of these highly skilled emergency staff working in the NEOC have a starting annual wage of just above 21,000 euro.

“Siptu representatives have asked management to draw up an action plan which would reduce the delays in recruiting staff and deal with the retention issue.”

The HSE said it was not in a position to comment on the claims on Friday.

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