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Beds alone not enough; more nurses needed - Ó Caoláin

13 October, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has described the latest announcement from Tony O'Brien, Director General of the HSE, of 440 extra beds in emergency departments as ‘wholly inadequate’.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

“Mr O’Brien has promised an additional 440 beds to be made available before Christmas in Emergency Departments. While this is a step in the right direction it is still wholly inadequate, not least because there are not enough staff in place to manage the number of beds promised. This will only work if additional nurses and support staff are employed. 

“Emergency Department (ED) services have been at crisis point for a very long time, as highlighted daily by the ‘Trolley Watch’ survey carried out by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. During September this year there were a shocking 7,630 patients on trolleys. This represents a 17% increase when compared to September 2014. 

“Every month we hear horrendous stories about the treatment of our elderly in A&E units, with not enough beds or staff. This has long ceased to be a crisis. It is government policy and it needs to change. It is primarily due to a lack of capacity resulting from the chronic failure of government to provide adequate funding to the public health system. 

“In our alternative budget Sinn Féin is prioritising the provision of an additional 500 nurses to tackle the crisis in the EDs themselves and to open further beds across the system. 

“The situation at present is putting immense pressure on nurses. This is highlighted by the fact that last week St Vincent's University Hospital Emergency Department nurses voted for industrial action and a work-to-rule which began today, Tuesday 13th.

“Urgent action is needed to address this pressing issue, to ensure patient safety and to alleviate the pressure on staff who are forced to deal with the consequences” stated Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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