28 Jun 2022

Midlands hospital at full capacity as INMO warns of worst overcrowding since pandemic began

Midlands hospital at full capacity as INMO warns of worst overcrowding since pandemic began

Midlands hospital at full capacity as INMO warns of worst overcrowding since pandemic began

The Regional Hospital Mullingar has once again announced that it has implemented its full capacity protocol and it comes hot on the heels of the INMO warning of the worst hospital overcrowding since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

A spokesperson for the Ireland East Hospital Group stated, "Regional Hospital Mullingar continues to be extremely busy with many seriously ill patients, many of whom are over 75 years of age and have a variety of complex healthcare needs. 

"We apologise for the distress and inconvenience caused to patients or their loved ones who are experiencing long waiting times. 

"The Full Capacity Protocol has been implemented consultants are doing additional ward rounds to facilitate discharges. We are working with the community to discharge patients where it is appropriate. 

"The hospital is asking that people think about all their care and treatment options, the length of time you may be waiting in ED should you not require urgent care and we would ask that people keep our ED services for the patients who need them most.  

"However, if you are seriously injured or ill the ED will assess and treat you as a priority. 

 "We ask the public to please adhere to all public health guidance and wear a face covering and keep socially distanced and to wash your hands frequently."

Yesterday, Ireland’s hospitals were more overcrowded than at any point over the last year, the INMO warned.

 376 admitted patients went without beds across Ireland  – the highest figure since March 5, 2020.

The worst-hit hospitals included:

University Hospital Limerick: 75
Letterkenny University Hospital: 31
Cork University Hospital: 30
Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar: 24
South Tipperary General Hospital: 23

The union warned that redeployment of staff was seeing day services closed or scaled back, which is putting extra pressure on emergency departments.

Frontline staff have said that infection control and social distancing is compromised when patients are on trolleys in corridors.

 The INMO is calling for urgent national intervention in University Hospital Limerick in particular, along with a strategy to reduce the volume of staff being redeployed for vaccinations. The union advised enabling nursing and midwifery students to become paid vaccinators.

INMO President Karen Mc Gowan said: “Although the levels of COVID are reducing, the long-standing trolley crisis is again rearing its head.

“Our members are seriously concerned that we will swing from the COVID crisis back into an overcrowding crisis. They need to know that the HSE will not tolerate overcrowding and ensure that safe staffing levels are implemented.”

 INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “We have kept trolley figures suppressed for much of the pandemic, but we are slipping back into old bad habits. The HSE cannot allow trolley figures to rise and rise.

“Overcrowding is simply unsafe for patients – especially during a pandemic. It is placing intolerable pressure on an exhausted workforce, who are now working to provide mass vaccinations in addition to a COVID and non-COVID healthcare service.

“The HSE and HIQA need to rapidly intervene in the worst-hit sites, and anything that can be done to ensure key staff are not redeployed must be looked at.

 “COVID could be a turning point for the Irish healthcare system. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past.”

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