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28/10/2021

Nurses at Mullingar hospital protest over understaffing and compromised care

Nurses at Mullingar hospital protest over understaffing and compromised care

Nurses at Mullingar hospital protest over understaffing and compromised care

INMO members in the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar will protest outside the hospital today (Monday) against understaffing and an excessive workload – which they warn is compromising patient care.

Mullingar is facing 50 unfilled nursing shifts over the coming fortnight, falling short of the minimum staffing levels required for safe care.

Attendances have increased, while there are currently 50 nursing vacancies (29 permanent) in the hospital, which is putting staffing under pressure.

The INMO have engaged with the HSE to try and find a resolution to this issue and are not satisfied with the response to safety concerns raised.

The hospital aim to recruit for the posts, but the shortfall will not be made up until the end of August at the earliest. Assistance from St. Francis Private Hospital has also been sought.

INMO members are calling on hospital management to restrict services, close beds and divert scheduled care to private hospitals in order to protect standards of care, patients, and staff.

The nurses’ protest will take place at the front gate of Mullingar Hospital from 1pm to 2pm on Monday, July 19.

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations Albert Murphy said: “It has been an incredibly challenging year and our members have had enough. They are facing increasing demands with too few staff. They are rightly concerned that patient care is being compromised. 

“Hospital management need to urgently recruit the necessary staff, but they need to be realistic about the hospital’s current capacity. Work needs to be scaled back to ensure safe care.

“That means closing beds in the short run and making decisions on which care has to be prioritized. Our members cannot be expected to work in environments which compromise their health and safety.”

A nurse in the hospital, speaking anonymously, said: “I have worked in this hospital for decades and have never seen things so bad. The waves of COVID were genuinely draining and we are now facing huge volumes of patients.

“We simply don’t have the staff to do the job safely. We’ve got a brilliant team in the hospital, but we’re at our wits’ end. We’re simply exhausted. I’m worried that patient care is being put at risk.

“Many of my colleagues are sadly now simply thinking of leaving the hospital, or even the profession.”

Senator Micheál Carrigy has said this morning that in light of the proposed strike action at Mullingar Hospital he hopes that there will be immediate engagement by the HSE with the INMO to ensure that these issues are resolved and staff can go back to working safely. 

"I believe they are currently 50 nursing vacancies, 29 of which are permanent. These positions need to be filled immediately to ensure that existing nursing staff are not put under continued pressure."

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