Irish nurses could face a double break out of Covid and flu in hospitals this winter as overcrowding continues to surge.

Nurses dreading ‘twindemic’ winter

A double breakout of Covid and flu in overcrowded Irish hospitals would make for a very bleak winter according to the INMO.

With overcrowding numbers remaining high throughout the summer, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is calling for vaccinations against both Covid and flu to be offered to healthcare workers as soon as possible.

INMO Director of Professional Services Tony Fitzpatrick said: “We cannot afford to have a Covid and flu ‘twindemic’ in Irish hospitals this winter.

“Unless we see a hospital-by-hospital plan to tackle overcrowding, we are in for a very bleak winter in Irish hospitals which will see nurses and patients in extremely unsafe circumstances.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said Ireland should heed the warnings from health care workers in Australia when it comes to mitigating the impact of both flu and Covid in Irish hospitals over the coming months.

“Nurses and other healthcare staff cannot be expected to sustain this type of pressure right into the winter. If the Government and HSE are serious about retaining those who already work in the health service, meaningful action must be taken to ensure safe care conditions for both patients and staff. No nurse wants to have to care for patients in sub-optimal conditions,” he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick’s comments come after the latest INMO trolley watch figures showed that almost 10,000 patients went without a bed in the month of July, a 52% increase on July 2021.

CUH was the second most overcrowded hospital in the county this July with 1,000 patients left without hospital beds.

“The level of hospital overcrowding we have seen throughout this summer has been a cause of serious concern. Since the beginning of May we have seen 27,832 patients without a bed in Irish hospitals, including 9,191 in July. The fact that 95 children under the age of 16 have been without hospital beds in July should absolutely not be tolerated,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.