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Nurses suffering from burnout due to overcrowding in A&E, says INMO

The INMO has said the dignity of patients is often diminished because of overcrowded conditions.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has hit out at the HSE’s perceived lack of action to combat persistent overcrowding in hospitals.

The organisation said today that nurses are suffering from burnout due to the consistent high workloads they are facing, as well as claiming that the dignity of patients is often diminished because of overcrowded conditions.

The HSE has said that the situation is regrettable.

Some 457 patients are without a bed in Irish hospitals today, including 101 patients in University Hospital Limerick.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said this number was “completely unacceptable”.

“For there to be 457 patients without a bed on a single day in the middle of June is not something we should accept as a given. The response thus far from the Health Services Executive, the Health and Safety Authority has been extremely lacking.”

The INMO has requested that the Emergency Department Taskforce meet as a matter of urgency three times but said the response from the HSE has been inadequate.

In a statement to The Journal, a HSE spokesperson said: “The HSE regrets that patients may experience long wait times in our Emergency Departments. However, as always they will prioritise the sickest patients and most urgent cases for treatment and care.”

The spokesperson said delays in the emergency department could be compounded as a patient moves through the clinical care pathway, such as registration or tests.

“Recently the Minister for Health has asked for a three year plan to comprehensively address the multiple factor and reduce the significant delays in access to Emergency Care. This will include issues around capacity as well as capability both with hospitals and the community.”

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This year, the HSE has experienced an increase in emergency department attendances with a significant increase in the number of patients aged 75 and over presenting with “complex care needs and often requiring admission to hospital for further treatment”.

Ní Sheaghdha added: “Our nurses are at the end of our tether, and they cannot provide the clinical care that is required. They are burnt out both physically and mentally and cannot continue at this pace.

“The slow reaction and at times hands-off approach from their employer will drive many nurses out of the profession.

“The dignity of patients is often diminished because of the conditions they are being treated in. Emergency Departments are pressure cooker environments leading to the physical and verbal assault of our members in some instances. The HSE has a duty to provide a safe environment for employees and patients and this just is not being adhered to in the vast majority of hospitals.”

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