3 January 2021
By Bryan Smyth
Ireland’s hospitals are now under “extreme” pressure due to a surge in COVID cases, the INMO has warned
The union has been contacted by concerned frontline members across the country this weekend, pointing to a major increase in the number of patients presenting, along with high levels of staff out on COVID leave or for self-isolation.
Cork University Hospital, for example, has:
Over 100 nurses out for COVID reasons, including ICU
One ward closed, as there were only four nurses available to staff it
No additional available ICU/critical care beds (as of 18:30 on Saturday)
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“What we are hearing from members across the country this weekend is deeply disturbing. The progress we made on keeping case numbers down seems to be completely undone.
“COVID is creating more patients while also depleting staffing. It’s a vicious combination. Staff are far more experienced than they were at the start of this pandemic, but the sheer numbers are difficult to cope with.
“Frontline staff are running three services in parallel – a COVID health service, a non-COVID health service, and a mass vaccination scheme. This can only work if pressure on our hospitals is eased.
“On behalf of Ireland’s nurses and midwives, the INMO is asking that the public stay home and strictly follow public health advice. The vaccine is being rolled out – we simply need to keep cases down.
“We need all hands on deck here. The government and HSE must focus on supporting the exhausted frontline healthcare workers. This means taking on additional capacity in the private sector and ensuring the childcare needs of frontline workers are taken into account.