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INMO seeks ways to alleviate overcrowding in hospitals due to shortage of beds

DUBLIN: The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has expressed deep concern over unsafe levels of hospital overcrowding in Ireland, with some hospitals nearing pre-pandemic levels.

The INMO said that the number of admitted patients waiting for hospital beds is increasing, and the number of patients treated on trolleys is nearly double what it was this time last year.

Despite the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission, the number of patients being treated for the virus in the country is low. However, the bed crisis is escalating, underscoring INMO president Karen McGowan’s statement that the situation in hospitals is “very unsafe”.

The INMO has written to the HSE, requesting a meeting with the Health Executive’s Emergency Department (ED) Taskforce to address the worrying situations in hospitals.

So far this year, over 22,000 patients have been treated on trolleys, including 2,800 patients treated this month. This is double what it was at this time last year. Last month’s trolley figures were three times higher than in May 2020.  

According to the INMO, the current pressure on emergency services poses serious risks to the health and safety of its members. The union therefore asked HSE to formulate a “viable plan” for safe staffing.

“Frontline workers have given 100% throughout the pandemic, and if conditions don’t improve it will be very difficult to retain nurses and midwives in the health service over the coming years,” INMO president Ms. McGowan said.

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