Ireland seeing worst hospital overcrowding since the Covid-19 pandemic began, says INMO
376 admitted patients were without beds on Tuesday morning.
Ireland’s hospitals are currently more overcrowded than at any point since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned.
According to the data from the union, 376 admitted patients were without beds across Ireland on Tuesday morning, the highest figure since 5 March, 2020.
The worst-hit hospitals are University Hospital Limerick, Letterkenny University Hospital in Donegal, Cork University Hospital, the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar and South Tipperary General Hospital.
The union warned that staff being redeployed to administer Covid-19 vaccines is causing day services to close or be scaled back, putting extra pressure on emergency departments.
Frontline staff have also voiced concern that infection control and social distancing is compromised when patients are on trolleys in corridors.
The INMO has said it is calling for urgent national intervention in University Hospital Limerick in particular, along with a strategy to reduce the volume of staff being redeployed for vaccinations.
The union has advised allowing nursing and midwifery students to become paid vaccinators.
INMO President Karen McGowan said in a statement: “Although the levels of Covid are reducing, the long-standing trolley crisis is again rearing its head.
“Our members are seriously concerned that we will swing from the Covid crisis back into an overcrowding crisis. They need to know that the HSE will not tolerate overcrowding and ensure that safe staffing levels are implemented.”
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha added: “Overcrowding is simply unsafe for patients, especially during a pandemic. It is placing intolerable pressure on an exhausted workforce, who are now working to provide mass vaccinations in addition to a Covid and non-Covid healthcare service.
“The HSE and HIQA need to rapidly intervene in the worst-hit sites, and anything that can be done to ensure key staff are not redeployed must be looked at."