The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), in the context of media reports about a “Patient Hotel”, in South Tipperary General Hospital Clonmel, is warning that any initiative, seeking to increase bed capacity in the hospital, must put patient care as its absolute priority.
The current situation in Clonmel is totally unacceptable and unsafe for both patients and frontline staff. The daily reality is one of overcrowding and severe understaffing which undermines patient care, compromises patient privacy and leaves staff unable to practice safely.
INMO members, in this hospital, have recently balloted for industrial action, in protest at the shortage of staff and its impact on the delivery of quality, safe patient care. We are currently involved in ongoing discussions, with hospital management, seeking to agree measures to address this crisis.
Against this background the need for additional beds is self-evident. However any additional beds that are brought on stream must be adequately staffed reflecting the care and observation requirements of every patient needing hospitalisation. It is simply not true, and in fact is grossly irresponsible, to suggest that any patient, placed in this “Patient Hotel” would not require high levels of care at every stage of their hospitalisation. All patients require care and the patients in Clonmel are entitled to the same level of care as every other patient in a hospital bed.
The INMO will be raising today’s media reports, directly with local management and at national level, in the coming days. In addition, as the “Patient Hotel” concept (which is being compared to the Scandinavian situation - which is very different) is being mentioned as part of the ED Winter Initiative the INMO will also raise it at the next meeting of the ED Taskforce on 6th September 2016.
Speaking this afternoon INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said:
“The situation in Clonmel represents an absolute crisis and is a direct result of neglecting the hospital over many years with the resultant loss of nurses due to the moratorium. Efforts to recruit nursing staff have not produced sufficient numbers, to date, leaving the hospital severely understaffed to the detriment of patients and our members.
Any initiative, to increase bed capacity, must be quality assured with the necessary level of additional staff to ensure all patient needs are met.
The crisis in Clonmel is not only about a shortage of beds, it is also about the severe shortage of nurses”.