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Media Watch - Patient care in focus

The INMO safe practice education seminar was among the headlines in the newspapers recently, Ann Keating reports

The online version of The Irish Times (February 15) reported on the CNM/CMM seminar organised by the INMO in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin – Senior nurses warn on patient care.

“Up to 300 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation heard health professionals express concern for patient safety in the wake of last year’s report of the Francis Inquiry in the UK.”

“The Francis report found that as many as 500 patients at a hospital run by the Mid-Staffordshire Foundation Trust could have died from unsafe practices and poor patient care.”

Liam Doran said that “lessons must be learned from the Francis report and one of the key issues was that patient/nursing levels had to be actively managed to ensure an adequate level of cover.

“He said in the wake of the Francis report, the INMO had recently completed a survey of 100 hospital wards in Ireland and preliminary results showed much cause for concern on the point of staffing levels.”

More cuts
The Irish Examiner (February 1) carried a story on cuts in funding to acute hospitals – INMO: Cuts threaten ability to provide safe patient care.

“The ability to provide safe patient care will be further compromised as acute hospitals make do with almost €250m less in funding this year, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has warned.”

Liam Doran said “there was no way the latest round of cuts could be achieved by efficiencies and new ways of working. These reductions will hurt.”

“My heart is broken by the continued approach of the government towards the public health service. They continue to view it as some place that continues to be inefficient; continues to be some black hole for taxpayer’s money and continues to be something they can pluck money from and no-one will be hurt.”

Mount Carmel Hospital
The closure of Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin featured in The Sunday Times (February 2) under a headline – Protests as NAMA closes Mt Carmel. According to IRO Philip McAnenly, as well as being a private hospital, Mount Carmel “recently took 1,100 public patients off hospital waiting lists for hip and knee transplants, and paediatric tonsils operations. Another 1,200 patients who had been booked in for operations will now remain on the national surgical waiting list.”

He said that “as well as 328 hospital staff, 55 independent catering staff and 16 contract cleaning workers will be made redundant“.

He commented that “the move into ear, nose and throat (ENT) and orthopaedic services had begun to generate a greater throughput of patients, but the improving business model was not given a chance to succeed“.

Hospital overcrowding continued to be covered in the media – Nurses warn on threat to patient safety at Tallaght – The Herald – City Final (February 6).

IRO, Derek Reilly said “the situation in Tallaght was unsafe. It is our genuine fear that another patient is going to die on a trolley in that hospital”.

He said “there were not enough staff in the hospital, and that those on maternity leave in the coronary care unit were not being replaced… Our members on the ground are unanimous in stating that the hospital is unsafe…

“The emergency department is unfit for purpose. We had a situation recently where critically ill patients were being cared for by a non-qualified person with no training”.

The story was also carried in the Lucan Echo (February 6) – Nurses call on hospital to halt admissions over staffing crisis.

“In a letter to management, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation called for all planned admissions and non-emergency operations and procedures to cease at Tallaght Hospital until an overcrowding crisis is dealt with.”

On February 8, a headline in The Herald read – 10 nurses hired to ease staffing crisis at Tallaght. “Ten new nurses will begin work at Tallaght Hospital on Monday, as management undertake to recruit a further 19 staff to ease concerns over staff levels and overcrowding.”

Meanwhile the difficulties in Limerick continue – Ambulances facing a twohour wait at emergency department – Limerick Post (February 15).IRO Mary Fogarty said: “Those people on trolleys are very ill. It is a very dangerous situation.”

The Irish Examiner (February 8) ran the headline – Calls for second emergency department in Mid-West amid ‘chaos’. In the article, Mary Fogarty called “on the HSE and government to prioritise the urgent and immediate recruitment of nurses, and for an independent review of the reconfiguration of acute hospital services in the Mid-West”.

Turn off the Red Light
The Irish Times (February 8) reported on a meeting of an alliance of 68 organisations in the Dublin offices of the European Parliament to press the Government to act on trafficking and prostitution.

Speaking at the event, Clare Treacy, the INMO’s director of social policy, regulation and recruitment, criticised “the view that providing sex was a form of work”. She said that such a description was “an attempt to give it a veneer of respectability on what is a despicable industry”.

She said: “Prostitution has a devastating impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of those prostituted… Repeated violation of a person’s body for the profit of others is wrong and will always be wrong.”

Ann Keating is the INMO media relations officer email: annkeating@inmo.ie

Media Watch - Patient care in focus
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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