HIQA reports highlight need for safe-staffing levels in hospitals

Galway Daily news Portiuncula Hospital new beds

HIQA reports published this week highlight the need for safe-staffing levels in Irish Hospitals the INMO has said.

The union states that the level of unfilled clinical posts as outlined in the reports should be a cause of concern for the Government.

The Health and Information Quality Authority published a report on Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe this week, following an inspection carried out in May.

General Secretary of the INMO Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that the union, “Commends the work of HIQA in highlighting the often very dangerous conditions that patients are being treated in and Irish nurses and midwives are working in.”

“The HIQA reports published today highlight the very serious staffing problems that exist in Irish hospitals. The reports report on inspections carried out in early Spring, we know the staffing and overcrowding situation in acute hospitals has become much worse since then.”

She said that the most recent reports highlight an 18% nursing deficit in the emergency department at Portiuncula Hospital.

On the date of the inspection there were five nursing vacancies, which Saolta said the hospital was actively trying to fill.

The INMO said that the government should not contemplate a hiring freeze of patient facing staff under such circumstances.

“With staffing now worse and overcrowding more extensive, not having full clinical staffing complements across all hospital sites will make it much more difficult for the staff who are working in hospitals to carry out their roles safely. ”

“Successive reports from HIQA highlighting the impact of unsafe staffing – prove that safe-staffing underpinned by legislation is urgently needed. HIQA issue recommendations but have no legislative function to ensure they are adhered to.”

“The reports by HIQA detail the stark reality of unsafe working and patient care but without a legislative basis, their recommendations seem to be falling on deaf ears.”

Nurses and midwives are not currently subject to a hiring freeze by the HSE on a number of managerial, administrative, and health professional roles announced this month in a bid to contain costs.