On a daily basis the ICU in St. Vincent’s University Hospital is running with 30% of its nursing shifts vacant. The hospital continues to operate 18 ICU beds despite pleas from nurses in the hospital to curtail services or divert patients to other hospitals.
Due to staffing shortages each day the ICU is down four to six Nurses per shift. Nurses are often looking after twice as many patients as they should.
They simply don’t have enough Nurses to do the job safely. They are constantly worried that patient care is being put at risk.
The INMO Industrial Relations Officer Mary Rose Carroll, said:
‘It is not acceptable that Management continue to operate a full service despite the Unit only having enough staff to operate fourteen beds. Our members are entitled to work in a safe working environment, and patients deserve to be cared for with safe staffing levels.
“The INMO have requested that services within the ICU are curtailed until such a time that the unit is adequately staffed. The Hospital in line with critical care standards can divert patients to other ICUs in circumstances when there are inadequate and unsafe staffing levels within the Unit.
“We know from survey results published by the INMO today that nurses and midwives are completely burnt out. Nurses and midwives have faced an unprecedented increase in workload demands resulting directly or indirectly from the pandemic. Coupled with caring for patients with the virus, witnessing the physical and emotional effects on patients, families and loved ones has taken a psychological toll. The vast majority of our members, including those in St.Vincent’s University Hospital, are now telling us they’re mentally and emotionally exhausted, and this is going to have an impact on their safety and the safety of their patients.
“The situation in St.Vincent’s is a symptom of the recruitment crisis in our hospital system.
“There are long-term and short-term actions hospital management and indeed the HSE can take to remedy the situation. They must take suggestions to curtail services and use ICU capacity in hospitals seriously. In the long-term, we need to give nurses an opportunity to specialise in the specialist training needed to work in ICUs and this can only be done if more postgraduate places for training are provided”.