Following consultation with emergency department representatives, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Executive Council at their meeting today called for the HSE and Government to come up with an immediate operations plan to tackle chronic dangerous overcrowding in our Emergency Departments.
This comes as 92,324 patients have been on trolleys so far this year, a 45% increase on the year previous.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“INMO members in emergency departments are once again sounding the alarm on grim conditions in each emergency department across the country. Today alone there are 526 patients without a bed.
“We know anecdotally that many nurses in emergency departments are moving to elsewhere in their hospital or are leaving the profession altogether because of the conditions in which they work and a lack of safe staffing. For example, in St. Vincent’s University Hospital, eighteen nurses are needed for any given shift in the ED, our members there are reporting that in reality only 9-11 nurses are rostered for most shifts. In University Hospital Galway there are over 42 unfilled nursing vacancies in the Emergency Department.
“Nurses and midwives have just come out of the worst of COVID-19 and are now working in a system that is sleepwalking into another overcrowding crisis. Our members are demanding that the HSE’s recently published winter plan separates staffing for emergency department attendances and admitted patients. If the decision to cancel all elective care needs to be taken, then that decision must be made swiftly.
“It is now necessary that all those who have a role to play in improving the conditions in our emergency departments, including the Health and Information Quality Agency, the Health and Safety Authority and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, attend the next Emergency Department Taskforce Meeting.
“Our emergency department nurses are not willing to put up with the conditions that they find themselves working in. This is reflected in the high numbers of resignations. It is vital now that the HSE and Government meet with these nurses, hear their concerns and take immediate action. If numbers continue to rise on trolleys, coupled with extremely unsafe staffing, our Organisation will have no choice but to consult with members on the next steps.”
INMO President, Karen McGowan said:
“Nurses and midwives do not believe that the Department of Health or the Health Service Executive are putting in place adequate measures to deal with the stark increase in resignations among our professions. Our emergency department nurses can no longer cope with their workplace being the first port of call in many instances.
“If Government and HSE are serious about keeping Irish nurses in Irish hospitals then they must take immediate action on safe staffing, fast tracking recruitment and getting private hospitals on the pitch now.”