Ireland’s nurses are “incredibly exhausted and burnt out,” the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said, as record-breaking hospital overcrowding tops off the pandemic.
More than 8,717 patients have been without a bed during the month of April, according to the union's tracking of the crisis.
This month also brought the worst day for overcrowding in any Irish hospital since tracking began, with 126 patients recorded without a bed in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) on April 21st.
“If we are breaking records in April, what hope do we have in the winter months?” said INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha.
The union is calling for the Government to take action in hospitals across the country after Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly this week ordered the HSE to deploy an “expert team” to UHL as part of an emergency plan to ease the crisis.
“While we welcome that Minister Donnelly has requested that a review be carried out in the hospital, it must be carried out by independent experts, not internally by the HSE,” said Ms Ni Sheaghdha.
“Nurses must be central participants of any review of the hospital.
“The problem of record-breaking overcrowding has not just been confined to University Hospital Limerick. There is a real problem with overcrowding all along the western seaboard.
“It has been the worst April on record for Mayo University Hospital and Sligo University Hospital. The Saolta Hospital Group made up 24 per cent of hospital overcrowding of the total overcrowding in Irish hospitals in April.”
Over the month of April, the worst levels of overcrowding were seen at UHL, with a total of 1,735 patients without beds, followed by Cork University Hospital (982 patients), Sligo University Hospital (718 patients), University Hospital Galway (670 patients) and St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny (573 patients).
Ms Ni Sheaghdha said it has been “an extremely difficult time for nurses and midwives.”
“They are incredibly exhausted and burnt out by the conditions in our hospitals. The HSE must uphold their obligation as an employer to provide a safe workplace,” she added.
"The Government and the HSE must urgently outline how they are going to solve this crisis hospital by hospital."