INMO calls for action on hospital 'capacity crisis'

The unknown impact of the Omicron varient has prompted concern.

The INMO has called for urgent action by the Government to deal with capacity issues in the health service.

The latest TrolleyWatch figures show 287 patients on trolleys in the country's hospitals, prompting the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation to call on the HSE to publish and implement a Plan B for dealing with the capacity crisis.

It's called for all activity except urgent emergency care to be curtailed in our public hospital system.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:

“From experience we know that if there are 287 patients for whom there is no bed in a hospital on December 30th, we know that figure will be tripled in early January. It is time now to scale back all activity within our public hospital system to emergency activity only.

“Our public health service is too small to try provide emergency care, COVID care and carry out elective treatments. Urgent elective work must be prioritised through the private hospital system.

Locally, Cavan General recorded no patients on trolleys at the time of the survey today. Nationally, Letterkenny University Hospital and University Hospital Limerick had the highest numbers on trolleys with 40 and 35 respectively.

“Every year between Christmas and New Year we see a spike in attendance at our Emergency Departments but now in the context of COVID, particularly with the highly transmissible Omicron variant, it is wholly irresponsible that we still do not have a Plan B in place for our scaling up capacity within our acute hospital system. We need private hospitals on the pitch so our health service can act as one at this extremely difficult time", said Phil Ní Sheaghdha.

“The HSE has a duty as an employer and as a service provider to take the necessary steps to scale up capacity. The current state of our health system is extremely concerning. The INMO has called for the HSE to have a realistic plan. We cannot allow a drift into this dangerous situation emerging across the country.”