The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, today, welcomed the health services capacity review report and Minister Harris’s acknowledgement that investment and reform must go hand in hand if we are to break the cycle of hospital overcrowding.
The INMO have been to the forefront, through their trolley watch, in highlighting the constant unacceptable overcrowding in our acute hospital sector. The report confirms that ED attendances are forecast to significantly increase and today’s figures, Tuesday, 23 January, have recorded the second highest figure ever since the organisation started counting trolleys over 15 years ago.
Phil Ni Sheaghdha, General Secretary of the INMO said, “The recruitment of nurses is the key to the realisation of the necessary increased capacity and the simple reality is that, under the current conditions, the Irish health service is failing to either attract or retain nurses. The public service pay commission should recognise this and allow the government the freedom to do what is necessary to meet the clear needs identified in this report”.
The report identifies that the acute hospital sector, under its current configuration, requires 7,150 extra hospital beds in public hospitals and, with the necessary reforms, would reduce this requirement to 2,600. The report also forecasts, with or without reform, a projected increase of 190 adult critical care beds and 13,000 for residential older person services are required.
Ms Ni Sheaghdha said, “All of these beds need a planned funded recruitment and retention strategy for nurses on a multi annual basis. We are currently losing this battle and unless conditions are significantly improved for nurses this year, 2031 will remain an aspiration”.
The current overcrowding and the shortage of nursing staff are matters that will be discussed with the HSE and Department of Health at the scheduled WRC oversight meeting tomorrow, 24 January. According to the INMO less than half of the required nurses to care for the additional admitted patients in the ED Departments have been recruited since agreed over a year ago.