The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called for the extension of a HSE directive to hospitals to curtail elective care amid “unacceptable” levels of overcrowding.
On Wednesday morning, INMO’s Trolley Watch recorded 471 admitted patients waiting for beds in hospitals across the country. 370 patients were waiting in emergency departments, while 101 were in wards elsewhere.
In early January, HSE chief Paul Reid instructed Irish hospitals to scale down elective procedures and to prioritise both urgent care and Covid-19 care for a 14-day period.
This morning, INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha urged the extension of the directive to the end of the month.
“We have been seeing unacceptably high numbers of patients on trolleys this week coupled with over 900 people admitted with Covid-19 to our hospitals,” she said.
“Nurses and midwives have endured intense stress for almost two years as the pandemic has persisted and evolved with the emergence of new variants. Despite exhaustion, nurses and midwives continue to provide care to patients under extremely difficult conditions.
“The directive from the chief executive of the HSE that was issued at the start of January for hospitals to curtail all non-emergency activity must be extended until the end of January in order to allow our members carry out their work safely.
“Covid is still very much with us, and our nurses and midwives are still dealing with very sick patients. This unacceptable level of overcrowding must not be allowed to continue over the coming weeks.”
On Wednesday morning, the worst overcrowding was seen at the following hospitals:
- University Hospital Limerick – 65 patients waiting for beds
- Cork University Hospital – 40 patients waiting for beds
- Mercy University Hospital, Cork – 35 patients waiting for beds
- Letterkenny University Hospital – 34 patients waiting for beds
- St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin – 32 patients waiting for beds
- St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny – 31 patients waiting for beds
- Sligo University Hospital – 31 patients waiting for beds
- University Hospital Galway – 29 patients waiting for beds