On World Patient Safety Day, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called for a winter plan to protect patients and nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers to be published immediately.
This comes as over 2,698 patients, including 63 children, have been without a bed in Irish hospitals since Monday.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“This World Patient Safety Day we must take stock of the impact that chronic hospital overcrowding is having on those who are in our hospitals without a bed and our members who are often their first port of call when it comes to their treatment.
“Nurses and midwives are facing into yet another winter where they are left in impossible and often dangerous care environments. To this end, we are calling for the Minister for Health and the HSE to publish the 2022/2023 Winter Plan in tandem with a multi-annual budget allocation for the health service as part of Budget 2023.
“Budget 2023 must have a laser focus on the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives. There must be an investment in maternity services to gice women greater choice about childbirth also to address the fact that maternity wards are closing due to a chronic shortage of midwives. There must be a change in mindset of how we configure maternity services that allows for more midwife led units.
“Slántecare as it was intended must be a core plank of the upcoming health budget. Emphasis on care in the community can only lead to better outcomes for patients.
“We know that overcrowding has significant negative health outcomes for patients. As a nation, cannot continue to trundle from winter trolley chaos to winter trolley chaos while glossing over the very real impact this has on patients and their long-term health needs.
“As we head into a winter of known unknowns, action must be taken now to ensure that patients and nurses are not in unsafe environments. We should not be having the same conversation on Patient Safety Day 2023.”