The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has repeated its call for hospitals to curtail all non-emergency services amid staff burnout in a COVID surge.
The largest hospital workers union has repeated its demand that the government make use of private hospitals for elective care in order to take some pressure off the public system
“Our fragile health services are being held together at the moment by an exhausted nursing workforce who are experiencing high levels of burnout,” said INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
“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.”
The public healthcare system simply can’t cope with the demands of emergency services, the COVID pandemic, and elective car all at once, she said.
On Sunday morning there were 717 people in the country hospitalised with the virus, of whom 87 were in the ICU.
The union also said that more needs to be done to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among hospital staff at work.
“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.”
The “normal January patterns” of hospital overcrowding simply cannot be tolerated this year Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.