LATEST: 'Declare a major incident' INMO calling for immediate action to alleviate hospital overcrowding pressures

LATEST: 'Declare a major incident' INMO calling for immediate action to alleviate hospital overcrowding pressures
Hospital corridor with gurneys and bed trolleys

Calls have been made for a major incident to be declared in hospitals hit by significant overcrowding as staff and patients face “intolerable pressure”.

The number of patients on trolleys has decreased from a record high of 760 on Monday and Tuesday, to 621 today. 

However, today’s figure is higher than on any day in January 2019. 

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has proposed five key actions for the HSE to alleviate the pressure on overcrowded hospitals.

They’ve called for frontline recruitment to be immediately sanctioned while restoring hiring powers to hospitals and hospital groups.

They’ve called for a major incident to be declared at worst-hit hospitals, as well as the sourcing of additional bed capacity in private, voluntary and community sectors.

The refocusing of hospital capacity to deal with emergency admissions and confirmation of previously agreed funding for the 2020 rollout of the Safe Staffing Framework have also been sought by the INMO.

While today’s INMO Trolley Watch figures are higher than on any day in January 2019, the INMO points to extra bed capacity sourced from the private and voluntary sector for the improvement on this week’s record highs.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “The intolerable pressure placed on frontline staff and patients continues.

“The trolley crisis is not a fact of life. There are simple, accepted solutions to fix it. We’ve made real progress in Beaumont and Drogheda hospitals, which were often the most overcrowded until recent years. This is down to planned additional recruitment and planned extra capacity. This model has to be adopted nationally,” she said.

“We need to keep moving to resolve this crisis. The INMO has proposed a five-point plan to alleviate pressure. All of these actions could be taken today or by the end of the week at the latest,” she added.

The INMO and HSE are meeting today to discuss the crisis, and an update on cancelled elective surgeries is expected this afternoon.

Earlier: Overcrowding has eased somewhat at hospitals in Cork, and across the country today.

There are 621 patients without beds at Irish hospitals today, down from the record figure of 760 on Monday and Tuesday.

There are 43 patients on trolleys at Cork University Hospital (CUH) this morning, down from 47 yesterday and 56 on Monday.

Numbers without a bed in the Mercy University Hospital have fallen by 11, with 16 on trolleys today, in comparison to 27 yesterday. Meanwhile, six patients remain on trolleys at Bantry General Hospital today.

University Hospital Limerick is the busiest hospital in the country, with 63 patients without beds.

It comes as the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the HSE are meeting again this morning, following the adjournment of their crisis talks on Sunday.

At that meeting, it was decided to cancel all elective procedures at CUH and the Mercy until further notice.

An update on that meeting is expected this afternoon.

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