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Dangerous Levels Of Overcrowding Persist In Tallaght Hospital Despite HIQA Report. 29.01.14

PRESS RELEASE - Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

-    INMO calls on the Board of Tallaght Hospital to prioritise patient care

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) are gravely concerned about standards and quality of care in Tallaght Hospital as dangerous levels of overcrowding persist throughout the hospital.

The Emergency Department is seriously overcrowded for continuous periods and the overcrowding is not confined to the ED as additional trolleys are now being placed inappropriately on wards on a daily basis.  This overcrowding has increased despite the HIQA investigation in 2012 and the INMO calls on the Board of Tallaght Hospital to prioritise patient care over all other matters. The INMO believes hospital management continue to ignore the severity of the crisis now facing the hospital.

Figures for the month of January so far show that there were 254 patients on trolleys in the ED and an additional 69 trolleys placed on wards above the complement of those wards in Tallaght Hospital.  Many of the patients on these trolleys are seriously ill, elderly and totally unsuited to the provision of care on a trolley.  They have no dignity and their privacy is seriously compromised. Their plight is compounded by nursing shortages and on numerous occasions, in the past few months, these critically ill patients were cared for by non-qualified staff.

In May 2012 a HIQA investigation severely criticised Tallaght Hospital, saying “patients' lives were put at risk because they were being treated on trolleys on corridors.”  This was after a coroner warned that “Tallaght hospital sounded like a ‘very dangerous’ place after a 65-year-old man died in a ‘virtual ward’.” The hospital accepted the recommendations of the HIQA report at the time and spoke of the concerns raised by staff and said that it was “highly regrettable these had not been responded to by management and the then board.” INMO members are now seriously concerned that another adverse incident may occur as the HIQA recommendations are not being implemented at the hospital.

INMO met with management in Tallaght Hospital on a number of occasions over the past few weeks. At these meetings the Organisation has put the management team on notice that they will hold the Board of the hospital responsible for any untoward event that occurs to patients within the hospital.
Speaking this morning, INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Derek Reilly said:

“Our members in the Emergency Department are unanimous in their belief that the ED in Tallaght Hospital is unsafe and unable to provide adequate patient care. Our members on the wards in Tallaght Hospital are equally frustrated and concerned at continuing overcrowding on wards which makes it unsafe for all the patients on the ward.

Conditions within the hospital are now worse than when HIQA inspected in 2012. HIQA cited that patients who were nursed on the corridor, adjacent to the ED, had no dignity. They are now nursed on corridors in ward areas where they have neither dignity nor adequate nursing staff to care for them. This must stop immediately.

The hospital is dangerous and staff fear that another adverse event will happen. HIQA, in their 2012 report, said that management of the hospital generally tolerated this unacceptable practise.

The INMO is concerned that Tallaght Hospital is still tolerating patients being placed in similar poor conditions and calls on the Board to prioritise patient safety over all other matters. This requires additional bed capacity, acute and continuing care, as well as additional nursing staff to provide safe care to these very ill patients.


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