Galway Bay fm newsroom – Changes to the way the ambulance service operates could vastly alleviate the overcrowding situation at University Hospital Galway.

That’s according to Paul Bell, SIPTU’s regional organiser for ambulance professionals.

He says in other areas, for example in Scotland, paramedics can decide whether a patient would be best served by ED staff, or whether they should be transferred directly to a hospitals medical assessment unit.

Currently, all patients brought to hospital by ambulance must go through the accident and emergency department before they are assessed and admitted.

Paul Bell says ambulance professionals are highly trained, and if they were allowed to make a decision on what’s best for the patient, it could take a lot of pressure off UHG’s emergency department.

Meanwhile, a number of ‘transitional care’ beds are to open this week at UHG in response to the ongoing trolley crisis.

Health Minister Simon Harris met last evening with the HSE in a bid to find solutions to the chronic overcrowding facing Ireland’s public hospitals.

60 emergency beds will open immediately across 10 hospitals in a bid to ease the pressure.

The executive has also committed to providing 28 new beds at UHG – however it has not stated when these will be delivered.

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