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‘Demoralised, burnt out and abused’


ANOTHER INCREASE The trolley watch figures for September show that 310 patients were waiting for a bed in MUH – an increase of 51 on last year’s figure of 259.

Anton McNulty

A RECORD number of patients waited for beds in Mayo University Hospital over the last three months, with trolley figures showing no sign of improvement ahead of the looming winter.
The latest trolley watch figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwifes Organisation (INMO) showed that a total of 1,107 patients were left waiting for beds in Mayo University Hospital (MUH) from July to September this year.
This is the first time that the figure has exceeded 1,000 patients since the INMO trolley watch analysis began in 2006. The previous highest figure recorded was last year, when 777 patients waited on beds during the same three month period.
The trolley watch figures for September show that 310 patients were waiting for a bed in MUH – an increase of 51 on last year’s figure of 259.

‘No clear vision’
“It is clear from this month’s overcrowding figures that we are on a path to a catastrophic winter in our hospitals,” said INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
“It is unsafe for nurses and the patients they care for. Besides a leaked draft winter plan, we have no clear vision from healthcare leaders as to what the solution for this winter is.
“The ongoing problems with overcrowding are leaving nurses completely and utterly demoralised. We have a severe recruitment and retention problem within the health service,” she said.
Three hospitals in the Saolta University Hospital Healthcare Group are in the top five most-overcrowded hospitals in Ireland for September. Mayo University Hospital is not one of them, but University Hospital Galway is the third most crowded, with 1,032 waiting for a bed, followed by Sligo University Hospital with 790 and Letterkenny University Hospital with 66 patients.
University Hospital Limerick with 1,382 patients who were waiting for a bed was once again the worst hospital for overcrowding.

‘Not enough’
Ms Ní Sheaghdha said the working conditions were resulting in staff leaving hospital positions.
“Our members are now voting with their feet and saying that they will not stand for another winter where they are demoralised, burnt out and abused in their workplace because of the excessive workloads…
“It is not enough for the Minister for Health and senior HSE leadership to acknowledge that we are in for an undesirable winter. We need to know when the private hospitals will be coming on the pitch, we need to know what exact measures are being implemented to keep our nurses in the system, when extra capacity will be coming through in communities to allow discharging of patients to happen in a timely manner.
“Patients need assurances that they will be cared for in a safe environment that ensures their care is not compromised.”
The latest trolley count for MUH show that on Monday morning, October 3, 15 patients were waiting for a bed, with seven in the Emergency Department and eight in other wards.

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