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INMO Trolley/Ward Watch Analysis Shows Increase of 2% in 2013 09.01.14

PRESS RELEASE Thursday, January 9th 2014

 - INMO calls on government to reverse budget cuts and immediately invest in health service

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), following an analysis of the full year figures, has found that Trolley/Ward watch figures, which measure hospital wide overcrowding,  were up by 2% in 2013 (full analysis below). 
A total of 67,863 patients waited for admission to a hospital bed in 2013 compared with 66,308 in 2012.  57,286 spent time on trolleys, in Emergency Departments across the country and a further 10,577 sick people spent time on trolleys, chairs or beds on in-patient wards/units above the stated complement of that ward/unit.  This gives a picture of whole hospital overcrowding endured in 2013 as the crisis has now become hospital wide in many areas.  As the INMO only began to count the number of patients, inappropriately placed on wards/units (as advised by members on the ground) in March 2013, the actual Ward Watch figure will be higher.
There were very welcome improvements in some hospitals during 2013, including Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda, Sligo and the Mater.  However, a number of hospitals showed an increase in numbers e.g. Beaumont, Connolly, St James’s and Tallaght Hospitals in Dublin and the Mercy Hospital, Cork, Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, Mullingar and Portlaoise Hospitals in the Midlands as well as Navan, South Tipperary, St Luke’s, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford Hospitals.  The fact remains that after almost 10 years focus on this issue all hospitals still struggle with trolleys on a daily basis.
Speaking this morning INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said:
“The increase in overcrowding of 2% in 2013 is very disappointing.  It is accepted that the Special Delivery Unit has, and is, working hard to reduce the numbers on trolleys, in Emergency Departments, across the country. However the problem is now compounded as, in some hospitals, patients, on a daily basis, are being placed on chairs, trolleys and extra beds on already full wards/units – a practice which is unsafe for patients and makes it almost impossible for INMO members to practice safe care.
Mr Doran continued:
There are 2,131 beds closed across the country and 5,100 nursing/midwifery posts have been cut in the past five years across all services including the community.  In addition the health service budget has been cut by €619 million for 2014.
It is difficult to see how this crisis, which has been on-going since late 2004, can be solved without major investment.  It was deemed a ‘National Emergency’ in 2006 but the numbers have increased by 22% since then.
The INMO is now calling on the Government to urgently re-think its position on the health services.  Lessons must be learned from the Mid Staffordshire Enquiry in the UK which found that reaching targets became more important than patient care leading to hundreds of avoidable deaths.  We cannot, and will not, allow that to happen in our health service.”
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