Rats drive ambulance crews from ‘new’ base in Merlin Park

The container-style 'temporary' accommodation used by ambulance crews at Merlin Park hospital.

A rat infestation at a temporary ambulance base in Merlin Park has forced the HSE to move staff back to their original premises on the University Hospital Galway campus.

Forty workers now have access to just one shower between them.

This week a pest control company deemed the portable cabin accommodation at Merlin Park uninhabitable  – one ambulance driver found a live rat sitting on top of the engine under the bonnet.

Once that infestation was confirmed, a decision was made to bring them back to the original base at what was formerly the Fever Hospital, located to the rear of the main UHG hospital.

The frontline ambulance crew had been transferred to the temporary prefabs at Merlin Park for what was supposed to be six months  – they were there for over three years  – to allow for the construction of the multi-storey car park on the UHG campus.

Ambulance staff had complained of extremely cold and uncomfortable winters in the prefabs which were cramped. The water supply to this temporary base was unsatisfactory. The water supply was undrinkable and the water coming through the showers was brown and murky.

But the final straw for workers was the confirmation of the rat infestation at the prefabs which are located adjacent to Merlin Woods.

However, it now means that the frontline ambulance crews are sharing premises with other ambulance personnel  – there’s only one shower to serve 40 people. There’s not enough room to park ambulances at the base, so they are parked all over campus.
To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.