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Chronic overcrowding mixed with COVID a recipe for disaster
Press release 14.3.22

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has again warned that high numbers of patients in our hospitals without a bed and cases of COVID in our hospitals reaching 1,042 is having a significantly negative impact on the ability to provide timely and safe care.  .  
 
This comes as 544 patients are on trolleys today and 1,042 patients are in hospital with COVID-19.  
 
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: 
 
“The fact that we have over 544 patients on trolleys today and over 1,042 patients in hospitals with COVID-19 almost two years to the day that the virus first reached our shores is a recipe for disaster. If our past experience of COVID and high numbers of patients on trolleys has taught us anything, we will be seeing the impacts of this on our health system for many weeks to come.  
 
“INMO members have been sounding the alarm on the rise of trolley numbers since mid-summer, and we also urged caution on the removal of mandatory mask wearing in public spaces. We are heading into what is a traditionally an extremely busy week in our Emergency Departments and last week we set out in detail what is needed now from Government at the Oireachtas committee. Furthermore, we met with the Minister for Health last Thursday evening and ED nurses from units around the country set out in detail the dangers presented for patients in overcrowded hospitals right now. There should be no doubt at this stage as to the negative effects of overcrowding. 
 
“The HSE and political system have a responsibility to the exhausted workforce to ensure their workplaces are safe. There must be no tolerance for hospital overcrowding while a highly transmissible airborne virus is making its way around our hospitals. Improvements to air quality in our hospitals must be a priority.   
 
“If non-emergency services need to be curtailed in order to allow the HSE and hospital groups to get a handle on out-of-control trolley figures and COVID cases within the hospital system then that must be done.  
 
“The HSE has a duty as an employer and as a service provider to take the necessary steps to scale up capacity. The current state of our health system is extremely concerning. It is now time for the Minister to attend the ED taskforce and to ask the HSE to put in place realistic short term pressure reliving measures. 

-End-

 
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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