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INO Members To Ballot For Industrial Action In Limerick

Press Release Thursday, 3rd December 2009

Following a meeting of nurses at the Mid Western Regional Hospital (MWRH) today, the INO is mandated to commence a ballot for industrial action following a unilateral decision taken by the HSE to place additional patients on in-patient wards above the agreed complement. This is in response to a decision taken by the HSE in the last 48 hours to place trolleys on in-patient wards when there are only 8 patients waiting for a bed in the Emergency Department.

Our members from both the wards and the Emergency Department attended the meeting this morning and were united in their approach to resolving the overcrowding at the hospital. As has been detailed to the HSE over the last number of years the critical problems are poor access to diagnostics and the absence of a multi disciplinary team approach to discharge planning at the MWRH.

 In addition the reconfiguration of acute surgical services in the autumn has impacted negatively on available beds with ward 4C closed (15 beds) and patient acuity at the hospital in both surgical and medical categories higher than previously.  In addition 10 acute beds at St Johns’ Hospital are closed due to underfunding and up to 60 acute beds have been taken out of Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals since October 2009. This has had a serious impact on capacity at the MWRH Limerick and led to 29 patients awaiting beds in the Emergency Department on Tuesday morning 1st December.

Our members have advised the INO that the decision now to place additional beds/trolleys on wards is a retrograde step in managing patient flow and the following examples were highlighted to us this morning in relation to the occurrences in the last 48 hours:

  • Surgical assessment unit not available and patients were sent to the Emergency Department
  • Cardiology day cases cancelled due to unavailability of beds
  • Delays in patients accessing investigative procedures i.e. bronchoscopes
  • Excessive workloads on wards because of additional patients and no additional staffing leading to delays in discharging and access to beds for patients.

Nurses at the hospital are committed to providing a safe and quality nursing service to patients in the Mid West but are at this point disillusioned at the ability of the HSE to put good and safe systems in place for patients.


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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