IRELAND'S hospitals are now under “extreme” pressure due to a surge in COVID cases, the INMO has warned.
The union has been contacted by concerned frontline members across the country this weekend, pointing to a major increase in the number of patients presenting, along with high levels of staff out on COVID leave or for self-isolation.
Cork University Hospital (CUH) has over 100 nurses out for COVID reasons, including ICU One ward closed, as there were only four nurses available to staff it, according to the union.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“What we are hearing from members across the country this weekend is deeply disturbing. The progress we made on keeping case numbers down seems to be completely undone.
“COVID is creating more patients while also depleting staffing. It’s a vicious combination. Staff are far more experienced than they were at the start of this pandemic, but the sheer numbers are difficult to cope with.
“Frontline staff are running three services in parallel – a COVID health service, a non-COVID health service, and a mass vaccination scheme. This can only work if pressure on our hospitals is eased.
“On behalf of Ireland’s nurses and midwives, the INMO is asking that the public stay home and strictly follow public health advice. The vaccine is being rolled out – we simply need to keep cases down.
“We need all hands on deck here. The government and HSE must focus on supporting the exhausted frontline healthcare workers. This means taking on additional capacity in the private sector and ensuring the childcare needs of frontline workers are taken into account."
CUH hospital management has requested that the public contact their GP/South Doc in the first instance and explore all other options available to them prior to attending the Emergency Department if their needs are not urgent.
In a statement released this morning, the hospital said: "The Emergency Department at Cork University Hospital (CUH) is exceptionally busy today and over the last number of days. Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients may experience a delay in the ED.
"The increase in attendance is due to the large number of very ill medical patients requiring admission.
"Patient care is paramount in CUH. Hospital management has requested that, where appropriate, the public contact their GP/South Doc in the first instance and explore all other options available to them prior to attending the Emergency Department if their needs are not urgent."
Patients are asked to contact the following services:
General Practitioner / South Doc Mercy Urgent Care Centre,
St. Mary’s Health Campus, Gurranabraher, Cork - Opening hrs. 8:00am to 6.00pm - Telephone - 021-4926900
Local Injuries Unit Bantry General Hospital - Opening hrs. 8:00am to 7:30pm - Telephone 027 50133 Local Injuries Unit,
Mallow: General Hospital - Opening hrs. 8:00am to 7:00 pm - Telephone 022 – 58506.
The statement added: "Hospital Management wishes to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all staff during this very busy time."