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520 on trolleys today – now time to follow through with key reforms - INMO
Press Release 9.1.20


520 patients are on trolleys in Ireland’s hospitals this morning, a 4% increase on the same day last year, but down from a record high of 760 at the start of the week.

The INMO points to the drop in figures as evidence that the ongoing trolley crisis “can be fixed” but is warning that there are still “dangerous” numbers of patients without beds.

The union is calling for the HSE and government to act on safe staffing to ensure that this week’s record highs are never reached again. This involves:

1. Immediately sanction frontline recruitment and restore hiring powers to hospitals and hospital groups

2. Declare a major incident at worst-hit hospitals

3. Source additional bed capacity in private, voluntary and community sectors

4. Refocus hospital capacity to dealing with emergency admissions

5. Confirm previously agreed funding for 2020 rollout of Safe Staffing Framework

Pilots of the Safe Staffing Framework in Ireland by UCC and the Department of Health showed that the Framework:
  • reduces risk of patient death, 
  • cut the length of patient stay, 
  • drastically reduces staff burnout, 
  • improves patient recovery and 
  • cuts costs – primarily thanks to a 95%+ reduction in agency staff costs.
The worst-hit hospitals today include:
  • University Hospital Limerick – 48
  • University Hospital Galway – 45
  • South Tipperary General Hospital – 44
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“This is still a dangerous number of patients without beds, but any progress is welcome. We must keep a laser focus on driving this figure down in the coming days. The only acceptable figure for patients without beds is zero.
“The trolley crisis can be fixed. With focus, planning and resources, we can drive down these numbers each and every day. That requires getting enough beds for patients with safe levels of staff to care for them. 
“We’ve set out three immediate steps that the Minister and the HSE can take to get staffing back on track. Approve recruitment for already-funded posts, give hospitals the power to hire staff they have funding for, and set out funding for the Safe Staffing Framework.”
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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie