The call comes as the Medical Director of the National Ambulance Service, Professor Cathal O'Donnell, told an inquest into the death of Margaret Callaghan yesterday (Wednesday, 4th December) that the issue of ambulance hand-over delay is “endemic” and it is getting worse.
 
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Our members have again expressed their deep concerns that the overcrowding crisis is obstructing them from doing their jobs effectively and they have demanded that an emergency handover protocol is put in place immediately to deal with it. We have an unacceptable situation where ambulance professionals and very expensive equipment is being held up for hours while other patients need immediate care. This is not sustainable and the Minister for Health needs to get involved before more lives are tragically lost. We need an immediate contingency plan to deal with this once and for all.”

He added: “We also need to see a dramatic increase in bed capacity to alleviate overcrowding and trolley pressure and to assist our members in the National Ambulance Service in the hand-over of patients.”