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Questions raised after memo said patients could be removed with "minimum force"

Minister for Health Simon Harris said that the rescinded memo was “utterly offensive and unacceptable”.

Image: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

A MEMO WHICH said nurses could remove patients from beds “as trespassers” using “minimum force” to free up beds has sparked calls for an explanation from the HSE.

The HSE’s National Director of Acute Hospitals Liam Woods apologised for any concern caused by the redacted memo, which was circulated and flagged after nurses raised their concerns over the content.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime this afternoon, Liam Woods said the information contained in the memo is not HSE policy and was only intended as a briefing note for senior managers.

He said that the memo “became available” when a citizen asked questions and the HSE legal department prepared the memo, but said that no patient was removed because of it.

Earlier today, Minister for Health Simon Harris said that the memo was “utterly offensive and unacceptable” and had been rescinded.

He was agreeing with Liam Doran, General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, who welcomed the retraction but also expressed worry over why the memo included those instructions in the first place.

Roscommon-Galway Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice shared his concern, and said that those responsible for HSE statement on removal of patients should be removed from their roles.

“The notion that the HSE would ask nurses to use force to remove patients from beds is absolutely unbelievable and a further indication of the disconnect that there is between some of the people who run our health service and the most important people of all, who are the patients.

“The callous tone of this statement is quite astonishing and to suggest that anyone in a civilised society would be treated in this manner is quite shocking.”

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