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Emergency measures must be introduced to allow hospitals to cope - INMO
Press Release - 21.3.22

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called for the HSE to declare the current overcrowding situation in our hospitals as an emergency and impose all necessary assistances and restrictions in order to allow hospitals to cope. The INMO is recommending that these restrictions on elective care would be in place until Easter, at least.

This comes as 570 patients are without a bed in Irish hospitals today.

Commenting on today’s figures, INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:

“Today’s trolley figures are worrying and disappointing but not a surprise to Irish nurses and midwives. We are now in a situation where we have 570 patients on trolleys and 1308 patients with COVID in hospital.

“We have been ringing the alarm on this situation for far too long. We are not in a space in which our health service can cope with 570 patients on trolleys coupled with such high numbers of patients in our hospitals with COVID.

“The Government must now revisit their decision on mask-wearing in indoor and crowded settings. There is a clear link between reduced transmission and mask wearing. Removing the mask requirement in congregated settings particularly with poor ventilation, is clearly having a detrimental impact in our hospitals. 

“The INMO urged the Government to move with caution on the removal of the mask-wearing requirement as we were concerned about the health system’s ability to cope. Our hospitals are under severe pressure. As of this morning, 7,093 patients have been without a bed in our hospitals since the mask requirement was dropped on February 28th. Our nurses and midwives have been dealing with overcrowding coupled with COVID transmission and are burnt out and exhausted.

“Considering in week 9 of 2022 a total of 129 COVID outbreaks were recorded, of those 116 were in health care facilities with 28 in acute hospitals. Air hygiene in hospitals is poor, COVID is an airborne pathogen and despite all the evidence the HSE has attached very little urgency, to the very real need for the introduction of hospital-wide air filtration and measurement systems.

“The HSE must now offer a direction to all hospital groups to cancel elective procedures and prioritise emergency care. We have been put in a situation where the health system is constantly playing catch up with itself because of the amount of pressure it is under, but the simple but unfortunate fact of the matter is that the health service is creaking and unable to do everything. 

“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. Patients, nurses, midwives, healthcare staff and wider hospital communities deserve better.”

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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