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Media Watch - Media on Ward Watch

The launch of the Organisation’s new Ward Watch initiative was covered widely in both the national and regional news last month

The Irish Independent (April 9) covered the launch of our new initiative ‘Ward Watch’ under a headline – Hundreds of patients at risk in crammed wards, nurses warn.

“Hospital patients who are being moved from congested A&E departments to overcrowded wards or corridors are at risk of cross-infection and not getting a safe level of care from busy staff, nurses have warned. The drive to reduce the numbers of people on trolleys in emergency units means more patients are moved “up house” and find themselves packed as “extras” in wards or corridors… The union will now start issuing a daily ‘Ward Watch’ along with its usual tally of patients on A&E trolleys.”

The Limerick Leader’s county edition (April 13) also reported on the launch of the new initiative in the article – Regional the worst for ward overcrowding says INMO.

“The Mid-Western Regional Hospital has the worst overcrowding on wards of any hospital in the country, early results from a nationwide survey by nurses show… The union’s general secretary, Liam Doran, has listed Limerick Regional as one of five major hospitals that are ‘overcrowded on a daily basis.”

INMO industrial relations officer, Mary Fogarty, was quoted in the Limerick Post (April 13) under a headline – Nurses to give details of ward overcrowding. “This has been common practice in the Mid Western Regional Hospital for about three years now. Patients are being put at risk and there is also an issue of workload for staff.”

In the Irish Examiner (April 8), the INMO said that it “remained fundamentally opposed to the placing of additional beds and trolleys, above the stated complement, on any inpatient ward or unit”.

In the Daily Mail (April 9) under a headline – Over 1,300 patients left on ward trolleys – Liam Doran outlined the hospitals that were of main concern: Connolly and Tallaght hospitals in Dublin; Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick; Wexford General; and the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar.

The Cork News (April 19) ran the headline – Union launches Ward Watch. In the article, INMO president, Claire Mahon, said that the new initiative was brought forward at the request of its members “who experience patients being placed in inappropriate locations on an ongoing basis”.

She said: “The INMO is calling upon the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly to increase bed capacity in every hospital regularly facing overcrowding and is seeking immediate discussions with the Special Delivery Unit.”

Rejection of extension to Croke Park
The rejection by unions of the extension to Croke Park proposals was widely covered amid speculation about what would happen next. Unions seek ‘blank page’ for new pay deal talks – INMO and CPSU say fresh engagement cannot be about ‘tweaking’ Croke Park II was a headline in The Irish Times (April 19).

“Any re-engagement by the Government with unions in relation to public service pay must be on the basis that Croke Park II proposals, which were rejected earlier this week are dead, two public service trade unions have said. The general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Liam Doran, said any new contract between the Government and public service unions must go back to basic principles.”

The Sunday Business Post (April 21) ran the headline – Back to the drawing board. “Social partnership came apart at the seams last week, when Croke Park II was voted down by more than two-thirds of public sector workers.”

The article continued: “Whatever happens next will certainly need to be creative, if the ‘major confrontation’ between unions and government of which O’Connor, Unite and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have warned is to be avoided.”

Before the ballot result was announced, The Sunday Business Post (April 14) ran the story – No decision without division – The Croke Park II vote hangs in the balance, with the only guaranteed outcome being further trouble.

Dr Gerald McMahon, a lecturer in Dublin Institute of Technology and a former ICTU official, said: “The INMO and Liam Doran have been a thorn in the side of officialdom for quite some time, as he is outspoken and radical. Nurses have the power to down tools, and have had public sympathy in the past. The fight will be a case of who is most effective, and which side will back down.”

Hospital waiting lists
Meanwhile, The Sunday Business Post (April 14) also ran a story on the worsening problem of hospital waiting lists – Hospital waiting lists still a major problem.

“Hospital waiting times have risen sharply since the start of this year. Figures show that, as of March 27, there were more than 13,435 adults waiting longer than six months for an elective procedure or treatment – a 40 percent increase on two years ago… Figures published for the end of March show that the number of children waiting for a planned medical treatment or a surgical procedure was 1,625 – down from 2,585 in March 2011.”

Liam Doran said the “system simply is not capable of doing any more. INMO figures show that more than 2,299 hospital beds are closed around the country.”

Mr Doran said that bed capacity was “an impenetrable wall”, and that the SDUs focus on reducing the number of patients on trolleys in emergency departments regularly ate into elective bed capacity.

Ann Keating is the INMO media relations officer email: annkeating@eircom.net

Media Watch - Media on Ward Watch
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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