Nurses have reported that January was the worst month ever for overcrowding in Irish hospitals. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says 12,201 people waited on trolleys in Emergency Departments or on additional beds placed throughout hospitals last month.
According to the INMO, this is an 18% increase over last January figures which were a record high.
At University Hospital Limerick, 1,003 people were recorded waiting on trolleys. In the Eastern region, St Vincent’s University Hospital had 559 waiting on trolleys.
Commenting on the crisis, INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said, “This is an incredible level of overcrowding and the appalling conditions experienced in Emergency Departments are now beyond anything we have ever seen.
“It now amounts to a humanitarian crisis for patients and a risk rich environment for those trying to work in such chaotic conditions”.
Nurses are working in appalling conditions and according to Ms Ni Sheaghdha, “Health employers have completely fallen down on their statutory obligation to provide a safe place of work.”
Ms Ni Sheaghdha added, “INMO members cannot be expected to tolerate such appalling and dangerous working environments and, at this point, many members of the public are openly asking the nurses how they could tolerate such a situation.
“It seems to us that all standards with regard to fire safety, personal protection, infection control and hygiene have gone out the window and no statutory authority or employer is prepared to look in.
“In those circumstances, the INMO will have to take the necessary steps to protect the safety, health and welfare of our members.”
The INMO Trolley Watch has been published every day for 14 years and is considered a barometer of the state of overcrowding in our hospital services.
Four cases of measles have been confirmed in Limerick City since 3rd January. According to the HSE, this constitutes an outbreak of the disease.
An outbreak control team, made up of representatives from the HSE, is involved in preventing further spread of the disease.
Anyone who has developed measles symptoms is advised to stay at home. Children should not attend school or creche.
Call the Dept. of Public Health at 061-483338 to report the matter and phone your GP.
Patients with measle symptoms should avoid presenting to the emergency department. If urgent care is needed, inform the ambulance service or emergency department so that appropriate precautions can be taken.