A "large volume of calls and requests" for the emergency ambulance services of the Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) and the National Ambulance Service (NAS) has been reported by the Health Service Executive.
The HSE warns that anyone calling for non-urgent or non-emergency services "may experience delays in getting an ambulance due to calls from other patients whose emergency care needs have been triaged at a higher level."
"The emergency service requests that patients who no longer require an ambulance, to contact us and let us know, so that we can ensure that our limited resources can be diverted to other life threatening calls," the HSE said in a statement. "The emergency ambulance services operate a priority dispatch system to ensure that our paramedics and ambulances are dispatched to the most seriously ill and injured patients first in order of their priority."
"We are experiencing very high demand for ambulances at present," said Dennis Keeley, Dublin Fire Brigade's Chief Fire Officer. "We want to ensure that the sickest, that is, the most critical patients get an ambulance in a timely way. We thank you for your understanding in helping us serve the sickest in our community."
Last week the National Ambulance Service was forced to cancel all annual leave for three weeks as it struggles to cope with the pressures of the Omicron COVID wave.
"Our staff continue to work incredibly hard trying to deliver normal health services and respond to the pandemic," said NAS director Robert Morton. "The HSE is incredibly thankful for the continuing efforts of all of our staff in what remains challenging circumstances."
The HSE and NAS are exploring the option of hiring private firms to help meet the current demand.