Because of lack of staffing, hundreds of calls for medical services have gone unanswered in New Orleans, according to a report broadcast by FOX8LIVE.
The television station reported an ambulance was not sent immediately to 319 calls out of the 1,372 received by New Orleans EMS during the week of April 4, the station reported. Two weeks later, the service received 1,367 calls, but could not provide an ambulance for 318 of those calls, according to the report.
New Orleans EMS officials say the service has 14 vacancies to reach the full staff of 160 people and the city’s EMS agency is constantly recruiting, FOX8LIVE reported.
The city’s director of EMS told the television station the staffing shortage is due to personnel leaving the city, others going back to school for different degrees and some just leaving the EMS profession.
To pick up the slack, the agency’s administrative staff sometimes helps out with calls and the city’s 911 dispatchers will monitor those who call for ambulances and check in to see how patient is doing, the station reported. For those who still need EMS, someone will eventually get there, but it could be minutes to hours, the station reported.
The EMS staff shortage has also affected the city’s policies for issuing permits for fall festivals as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, the station reported, adding that the New Orleans mayor is reluctant to issue permits for events because of the EMS shortage.
City officials are hoping hiring additional personnel will resolve the issues, according to the report.