The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation demanded that one of the country’s busiest emergency departments go ‘off-call’ last night as 40 patients were forced to wait on trolleys.
Just before 7.30pm, the union issued a statement claiming the number of people awaiting an in-patient bed in the emergency department in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital was extremely high for that time of the evening and “is set to increase further as the night progresses”.
“Of the 41 admitted patients, 18 are over the age of 75,” it said. “They have been forced to spend days on trolleys and chairs in frantic, bright and noisy conditions waiting for a bed to become available. The department is also short two nurses and it is impossible to provide a safe level of care to patients in these conditions.”
Lorraine Monaghan, INMO industrial relations officer, said: “It is unacceptable that in 2015 patients are subjected to such degrading, inhumane conditions when they are at their most vulnerable.
“This situation has continued to worsen with overcrowding levels up by 40% in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period last year.”
“Our members are faced with intolerable workloads day in, day out which is taking its toll, physically, mentally and emotionally.
“The situation is exacerbated by a shortage of nursing staff as the hospital cannot recruit/ retain the numbers required.
“These totally unacceptable and stressful conditions prevent the nursing staff from providing safe care and cannot be allowed to continue. Therefore the hospital must go off call.”
The hospital said it “acknowledged and regretted” the difficult conditions.
“The hospital has been provided with off-call assistance this evening by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital to relieve pressure on the emergency department,” a spokeswoman said.
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