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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C

INMO warns of 'dangerous overcrowding' at Mater hospital

Nurses say the emergency department at the hospital is no longer safe for patients.

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on hospital management at the Mater Hospital in Dublin to intervene after what the organisation described as “dangerous understaffing and overcrowding conditions”.

The INMO warning comes as 40 patients are without a bed in the city centre hospital according to the union’s daily Trolleywatch figures.

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations, Maeve Brehony said those on the ground in the Mater say that the hospital is “no longer safe” for patients and staff. 

She said: “INMO members in the Emergency Department and throughout the Mater are indicating that their place of work is no longer safe for the patients they are trying to care for, or the staff working there.

“Day after day and night after night, our members are reporting that while the emergency department is bursting at its seams, the nursing staff are being swamped and unable to take even minimum breaks. This is dangerous on so many different levels.

“As outlined in the HSE Winter Plan published yesterday, each ED should conduct an urgent analysis to identify and address gaps and risks, the Mater must move to undertake this process immediately.”

 In June of this year, we reported how over 60% of acute hospitals (30) had an average bed occupancy above the internationally recommended level of 85% from January to March this year, compared to under 40% of hospitals (16) in 2021. 

HSE data obtained by Noteworthy through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request also showed that the national average bed occupancy for these three months in 2022 was 90%, compared to 81% in 2021. 

A bed occupancy of 85% is generally considered to be the limit at which hospitals are able to work safely and effectively. 

The HSE has been contacted for comment.

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