Belfast Telegraph

Hospital carers to protest against under-staffing and over-crowding

Nurses and midwives are to campaign at hospitals across Ireland.

Nurses and midwives are gathering to protest over-crowding and under-staffing at hospitals across the country.

The Health Service staff are demanding the Health Service Executive (HSE) make plans for the expected increase in patients during winter.

Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO) figures show that August was the worst on record for overcrowding, with hundreds of vacant nursing posts in emergency departments and wards across Ireland.

The nationwide figure for Monday was 400 patients on trolleys, a decrease of 5% on the same day last year.

Last week the INMO said that they were told by the HSE, that the executive still does not have a plan to recruit extra staff or reduce services to cope with the increased demand.

The revelation came during a meeting at the Workplace Relations Commission on Friday, where the INMO met with HSE and Department of Health officials.

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Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick city centre (Niall Carson/PA)

The HSE admitted that they have been unable to fill 169 nursing posts in emergency departments across Ireland, for which they have funding.

An additional 57 nurses would be required to provide minimum levels of safe care, according to recognised staffing ratios.

During the meeting, officials also revealed that they have not decided how to reduce services elsewhere to increase emergency department resources or guarantee replacements for nurses who are on maternity leave.

The UK National Health Service (NHS), in contrast, has already published their winter plan.

The  protests, which till take place at the worst hit hospitals at lunchtime, so far include Galway on September 10 at, 1pm, UHG main entrance, Cork on September 11, at 12:30pm, at the main entrance to CUH/CUMH campus and Limerick on September 11, at 12:30pm, at UL front entrance.

INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said that staff are forced to apologise for the failings of the HSE.

“Nurses and midwives are constantly apologising to patients for the conditions in the health service.

“Thousands are trapped on trolleys every week, and things will only get worse as winter bites.

It's time for the HSE to be honest with the public Phil Ni Sheaghdha

“Yet the HSE still has no plan to recruit extra staff or cut back services to cope with the demand.

“This could lead to unplanned cancellations of elective appointments.

“We can’t go on like this. It’s time for the HSE to be honest with the public.”

The HSE has been contacted for comment.

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