Many nurses in Ireland are likely to leave the profession as an ongoing hospital overcrowding crisis leaves patients lying on trolleys along corridors, a leading union has warned.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said trolley numbers have become unsustainable and will impact nurse retention in the coming months as they deal with the fallout of the crisis.
Over 5,262 patients have been on trolleys since the beginning of May according to the union’s trolley watch, a 68 per cent increase on the same time period in 2021.
“In recent surveys by the INMO in some of Ireland’s busiest emergency departments, over 30 per cent of nurses stated that they were likely or very likely to leave the profession in the next 12 months,” said INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
“This is something that Government must grapple with and resolve.
“The retention of staff in the health service is a major issue coming down the line.
“As well as producing a hospital-by-hospital plan to tackle overcrowding, the Government must implement measures that have already been agreed such as the implementation of the Enhanced Nurse Salary scale and access to promotional posts with a 3.28 per cent differential in salary.”
Our members... are often the ones who have to apologise to patients for the conditions in their workplaces
There were 334 patients on trolleys this morning in hospitals around the country, according to INMO’s trolley watch.
“The fact that we are still seeing very high trolley numbers at the beginning of summer is a cause of concern for our members,” said Ms Ní Sheaghdha.
“This type of overcrowding in our hospitals cannot be allowed to continue through the summer and into the winter.
“Our members have been working in extremely difficult conditions and are often the ones who have to apologise to patients for the conditions in their workplaces.”