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INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha LEAH FARRELL
third wave

INMO calls for 'critical emergency' protocols to be implemented across health service

The INMO is also calling on the HSE to improve daily communications with staff.

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said the HSE must implement new “critical emergency” protocols as Ireland’s health service deals with the current Covid-19 surge. 

The organisation raised concerns about the “severe pressure” on the health service at present due to rising cases and understaffing. There are currently 3,000 healthcare workers unavailable due to viral infection or being close contacts of confirmed cases.

The INMO is calling on the HSE to implement a number of measures, including reducing footfall in hospitals, additional PPE and a 24/7 Senior Management presence across Ireland’s health service. 

“It is time for the HSE to ramp up safety plans and introduce critical emergency protocols,” INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.

“We have safety protocols that have been tweaked since March of last year – the level of pandemic we face now means many need a total overhaul or serious upgrade,” she said.

“The EU biological agent directive was adopted in Ireland in November. It requires the HSE to risk assess and adopt their approach to staff safety – this is the ask and the requirement.”

The INMO is also calling on the HSE to improve daily communications with staff.

It comes after several ICU nurses at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin said requests they made over safety concerns during the first wave of pandemic have still not been addressed.

A number of nurses in the hospital’s ICU say they have consistently raised issues about the lack of sink and shower facilities available to them, as well as the small size of their changing room which is about two metres by eight metres.

Some nurses have also expressed frustration and upset that they were not prioritised when initial doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were given to staff members this week.

The health system is currently under enormous strain. 

Speaking this week, HSE Chief Clinical Officer said – in an optimistic scenario – there will be 1,500 Covid-19 patients in hospital by mid-January. 

The worst-case scenario could see 2,500 people in hospital by mid-January and 400 people in ICU. 

There have been 104 hospital admissions in the last 24 hours and 58 discharges. 

There are – as of this morning – 1,151 confirmed Covid-19 cases in hospital and 109 people in Intensive Care Units.

The previous peak was in mid-April when 881 people were in hospital. The number of ICU cases has more than doubled since last week.  

With reporting by Órla Ryan  

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