There are more than 42 vacant nursing positions in the Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway headed into winter.
These figures are from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation which is sounding the alarm on “grim conditions” in emergency departments across the country.
The INMO Executive Council held a meeting today, in which it called on the government and HSE to come immediate plans to tackle chronic dangerous overcrowding.
This comes as 92,324 patients have been on trolleys so far this year, a 45% increase on the year previous.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said their members are, “once again sounding the alarm on grim conditions in each emergency department across the country. Today alone there are 526 patients without a bed.”
“We know anecdotally that many nurses in emergency departments are moving to elsewhere in their hospital or are leaving the profession altogether because of the conditions in which they work and a lack of safe staffing.”
“For example, in St. Vincent’s University Hospital, eighteen nurses are needed for any given shift in the ED, our members there are reporting that in reality only 9-11 nurses are rostered for most shifts.”
“In University Hospital Galway there are over 42 unfilled nursing vacancies in the Emergency Department.”
She said that the system is “sleepwalking into another overcrowding crisis” after nurses and midwives have just come through the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our members are demanding that the HSE’s recently published winter plan separates staffing for emergency department attendances and admitted patients.”
A decision needs to be made swiftly on whether all elective care needs to be cancelled, she added.
“Our emergency department nurses are not willing to put up with the conditions that they find themselves working in. This is reflected in the high numbers of resignations.”
“It is vital now that the HSE and Government meet with these nurses, hear their concerns and take immediate action.”
If the number of people on trolleys continues to rise while staffing levels remain unsafe, she said, the INMO will have no choice but to consult its members on the next steps to take.