EDs in July: short over 200 nurses, record overcrowding
Ireland’s emergency departments are at least 216 nurses short of what is needed to care for all admitted patients, according to HSE figures obtained by the INMO at the Workplace Relations Commission today (Tuesday).
There are 159 unfilled vacancies, while the HSE estimate that an additional 57 nurses are required within emergency departments to care for admitted patients for whom there are no available beds.
The INMO says that low pay and bad working conditions make it near-impossible to recruit and retain sufficient nurses in emergency departments.
Across all services, the nursing census shows 2,500 fewer employed nurses and midwives than in 2007, and vacancies are growing.
At a meeting with the HSE at the Workplace Relations Commission today, the INMO demanded immediate talks on curtailment of services to ensure safety of nurses and midwives when at work.
July Trolley Watch figures
INMO figures for July show that 7,069 admitted patients were on trolleys across Ireland, 21 of them under 16. This is an increase of 11% on last year, and the most overcrowded July since records began.
Hospitals with particularly high numbers on trolleys included:
- University Hospital Limerick: 897
- Cork University Hospital: 614
- Midlands Hospital Tullamore: 494
- University Hospital Galway: 457
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“Overcrowding is now a constant feature of our hospital system, even in summer. Low salaries for nurses and midwives mean that vacancies simply aren’t being taken up and health service capacity can’t grow. Without realistic pay correction for nurses and midwives, this problem won’t be fixed.
“The HSE still haven’t set out their funding workforce plan, which sets how many nurses and midwives they will recruit this year. The hazardous working conditions for staff look set to worsen.
“The HSE is sleepwalking into yet another winter crisis. We have today sought discussions on which services will be curtailed this winter, so that nursing staff can work in safe environments. It is very unlikely that services will develop to alleviate overcrowding this year. Plans must now be put in place to ensure a safe working environment.”