The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have reacted furiously to a spike in Trolley/Ward Watch numbers in the second week of July. A comparative analysis of INMO Trolley/Ward Watch data for last week (11/7/16 – 15/7/16) shows an increase of 38% compared to the same week in 2015. Analysis of Trolley/Ward Watch, the universally accepted measurement of the scale of the overcrowding crisis in emergency departments, has shown that the progress made up to the end of June was wiped out in the second week of July. “This requires explanation and we will be demanding guarantees from management at the WRC that this trend will be halted. A National Agreement made with INMO and underwritten by the WRC has worked and we will simply not allow the situation slip back to a continuous state of chaos where unacceptably low standards and overcrowding are accepted as normal”, said David Hughes, INMO Deputy General Secretary.
The figures had reduced for the month of May by 14% and the month of June by 24% however, last week’s figures confirm that 1,839 patients admitted for care, were on trolleys compared with 1,336 for the same period last year (see report here).
The INMO is concerned by this upward trend in overcrowding in Emergency Departments considering the improvements made recently due to the implementation of the ED agreement, between the INMO/ DOH/HSE which has prioritised the ED crisis at a system wide level. Also, the time of year and improved weather conditions should have seen the figures go down instead of up.
The INMO repeats its call for the urgent recruitment of frontline staff and that all hospital managements proceed, immediately, to fill all vacant frontline posts.
The INMO is also calling for immediate engagement on finalising initiatives which will expand bed capacity and services. It is necessary to agree all required initiatives, together with the funding necessary, to make them a reality now.
Speaking today INMO Deputy General Secretary, Dave Hughes said:
“The increase in the number of patients on trolleys waiting for an in-patient bed last week is most disappointing. The welcome reduction in numbers in May and June was unfortunately short lived. It is vital that everyone must now re-affirm their commitment to implementing, on a 24/7 basis, the recent ED Agreement and continue to prioritise the crisis facing Emergency Departments in all decision making.
The inevitable consequence, of any delays in recruitment, of nurses and other frontline staff, will result in the curtailment of services and a reduction in bed capacity which will exacerbate pressures on the Emergency Departments.”