An ambulance crew in Cork was suspended for refusing to transport a patient to Dublin yesterday morning, the Psychiatric Nurses Association has confirmed.

A spokesperson for the PNA said that the crew who belong to their NASRA branch decided it would be unsafe to do so as they were coming to the end of a 12-hour shift, and completing the journey to Dublin would have breached health and safety. 

The patient - understood to be a child - was subsequently transferred by another crew.

Sources said that other ambulance crews then stopped work in support of their suspended colleagues - and have given local management an ultimatum to reinstate the suspended ambulance crews.

The HSE confirmed that the National Ambulance Service is currently investigating an issue that occurred locally and would therefore not be in a position to comment any further at this time.

The HSE said it was satisfied that there has been no impact regarding continuity of service.

The PNA represents around 500 of the 1,800 workers in the National Ambulance Service through its NASRA branch.

It is currently in dispute with the HSE over union representation rights and the HSE's refusal to deduct members' union subscriptions through the payroll system.

The union is planning a strike on Tuesday 22 January.

However the PNA spokesperson stressed that the situation in Cork was not related to the impending industrial action, and had not been in any way coordinated by the union. 

He added that the PNA had not issued any ultimatum to management.