The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called for the Emergency Department Taskforce to meet urgently to discuss how the HSE plans to tackle the persistent overcrowding problem in Irish hospitals. This comes as over 521 patients, including 7 children, have been admitted to hospital without a bed today.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“We are once again finding ourselves in a perilous situation when it comes to hospital overcrowding. It is unacceptable that we are seeing such high levels of overcrowding before the usual onslaught of winter viruses and respiratory illnesses. We haven’t yet reached the midpoint of the month and we have already seen over 3,335 patients on trolleys, chairs or other inappropriate bed spaces so far in September.
“The rising number of children under the age of sixteen on trolleys is becoming a matter of huge concern for our members. Over 64 children have been on trolleys so far this month, with schools only back in earnest in the last week. Parents are sending their children to already overcrowded hospitals as a last resort as care options are not available in the community.
“As Co-Chair of the Emergency Department Taskforce, I am calling on the HSE to convene an urgent meeting of the Taskforce this week to discuss what measures are going to be taken on a week-by-week basis from now until the end of the year so we do not see a repeat of the trolley figures we saw earlier this year where all overcrowding records were broken. The Minister for Health has indicated that he will attend the Taskforce. The HSE should not delay in getting all stakeholders around the table to come up with short, medium and long-term solutions to what is now a year-round crisis.
“Nurses are once again finding themselves of having to apologise to patients and their families because of the state of hospital overcrowding. This is unacceptable. It is time for the health service and individual hospitals to be upfront with the public about the staffing and capacity shortfalls in our hospitals.”