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New Government 100 Days In Office Yet Emergency Department Crisis Continues To Deepen In North East. 16.06.11

PRESS RELEASE,Press Release, June 16, 2011

• 52 patients on trolleys in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda this morning

• INMO and SIPTU to ballot staff at Cavan General ED for industrial action

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), is greatly concerned and alarmed at the deepening overcrowding situation in emergency departments across the North East.

Today, in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, an unprecedented number of 52 patients found themselves on trolleys awaiting an in-patient bed (see www.inmo.ie for full trolley watch figures).

This situation is unsafe for both patients and staff and renders it impossible to provide care in a dignified surrounding to these sick and infirm people. To date management’s response has been wholly inadequate as this has been a persistent and growing problem over an extended period.

In April, the INMO sought a meeting with Minister James Reilly, to discuss this critical situation.  This meeting has not yet taken place.

Speaking today, INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Tony Fitzpatrick said: 

“Emergency department overcrowding in the North East has been a critical, and unresolved issue, for ten years. This situation has been exacerbated still further by the downgrading of services in other hospitals, under the guise of reconfiguration, when in reality all changes have been driven by economics and not patient need. The situation demonstrates the total absence of a coherent strategy and we call upon HIQA to carry out an immediate investigation and inspection of the clinical environments which now exists in the ED Departments of the Lourdes Hospital and Cavan General Hospital.” 

Mr Fitzpatrick continued: 

“INMO and SIPTU members in Cavan General emergency department are to be balloted for industrial action in protest at the continuing overcrowding in that hospital and the abject failure of management to respond with appropriate measures which ensure safe care to all patients. 

The current critical, and wholly unsatisfactory, situation will be further exacerbated due to the shortage of non-consultant hospital doctors, throughout the region, as and from 11th July 2011.”

Mr. Fitzpatrick concluded:

“The situation in the North East is now absolutely critical and, notwithstanding any other constraints which exist, requires immediate emergency action involving the opening of closed beds in the area and the restoration of full community nursing services.”

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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