Monday 27 January 2020

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‘Overcrowded, unsafe and understaffed’

Thursday, 9th January, 2020 9:07am

“What you have is a two-fold crisis at the moment. You have an understaffed and under resourced emergency department and medical and surgical wards. And on top of that a very significant overcrowding crisis which was predicted.”

Those were the words of INMO representative Liam Conway who was reacting to the recent escalation of overcrowding in CUH and hospitals across the country.

A meeting between senior management in CUH and the South South-West Hospital Group (SSWHG) took place yesterday, Wednesday, where INMO representatives demanded improved measures for discharges and bed capacity, particularly from the private sector.

“Following the meeting, the HSE representatives in CUH confirmed additional bed capacity has been sought from the private sector, and they’re working within the HSE to maximize the amount of discharges that are available. They have agreed additional resources in terms of staffing with the Emergency Department in CUH,” continued Mr Conway.

The meeting follows Monday’s and Tuesday’s overcrowding figures when 760 patients were without beds across Ireland, enough to more than fill the country’s largest hospital and the worst numbers since records began.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “Our members are working in impossible conditions to provide the best care they can. The Government need to immediately initiate a major incident protocol.”

Another meeting also took place in Dublin yesterday between the INMO and HSE representatives at local and national level where the INMO were seeking an agreement to give recruitment authority back to local management.

“For every retirement or vacancy, a business case must be sent from local management to SSWHGwho then submit to the head of the Acute Division in the HSE, who must sign off and approve the post before a vacancy can be filled.

“We’ve seen it in CUH where it took from mid-October to 20 December 2019 to approve a large number of frontline nursing posts,” said Mr Conway.

“We’ve asked that the HSE remove this embargo that is currently in place, which would allow local management in CUH and the Mercy to recruit. We’ve also sought additional resources for Bantry General Hospital. There is a massive delay in recruitment which is decimating staffing levels on the front line across emergency department and medical and surgical wards,” he added.

This week saw management at CUH cancel all elective surgery to reduce pressure on struggling wards.

They also requested that members of the public avoid the emergency department where possible.

Mr Conway concluded: “We acknowledge that the management in CUH are doing all they can. However when they don’t have approval it leaves our staff and patients in a very dangerous scenario.”

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