The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called for all non-emergency procedures in hospitals to be stopped in response to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and admissions.
They’ve also called for more measures to be implemented to better protect hospital staff from Covid-19, as it’s been reported that hundreds of healthcare workers are currently on Covid-related sick leave across the country.
Many hospitals across the country are suffering from overcrowding issues and Covid-19 outbreaks – including Letterkenny University Hospital.
Latest figures show that, as of yesterday there were 45 patients waiting on a bed at LUH, and a total of 40 Covid-positive patients admitted there.
LUH have already suspended some non-emergency procedures in the coming week as a result of the additional pressure placed on the hospital.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“Our fragile health services are being held together at the moment by an exhausted nursing workforce who are experiencing high levels of burnout. Annual leave is being cancelled by many in order to fill rosters and many nurses are reporting that they are staying beyond their scheduled work hours to care for patients.
“Our public hospital system is too small to cope with servicing emergency care, COVID care and elective treatments. It is time for the State to step up and ensure that all capacity that can be gained from the private sector is used.
“The HSE and political system has a responsibility to an exhausted medical workforce to ensure their workplaces are as safe as they can be. There must be no tolerance for hospital overcrowding while a highly transmissible airborne virus is making its way around our hospitals. Improvements to air quality in our hospitals must be a priority.
“As we head into what is traditionally a chaotic time in our hospitals, the normal January patterns of overcrowding in our hospitals should not be tolerated. Our hospitals cannot operate on goodwill of staff alone, we need and urgent capacity plan from the HSE.”