26 August 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A call was made by nurses’ representatives this week for the extension of the services available at the Minor Injuries Unit located at Monaghan General Hospital.
Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation spokesman Tony Fitzpatrick praised the way in which the unit was operating and called on the Health Service Executive to consider ways in which its scope of services could be expanded.
Recent fears were expressed that the unit has been earmarked by the HSE for a reduction in its operating hours as a cost-saving measure.
The INMO call comes after statistics indicated that the number of patients on trolleys in Irish hospitals has escalated enormously over the past twelve months.
Yesterday’s ‘Trolley Watch’ figures compiled by the IMO indicated that there were 334 people awaiting treatment on trolleys in emergency departments of Irish hopspitals, while the corresonding figure for last year was 215.
There were 24 patients on trolleys in Cavan General Hospital, while Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda had the highest number of trollied patients in the country, with 40 awaiting beds.
The INMO attribute the pressure being experienced by the Cavan and Drogheda Hospitals in part to the removal of acute services from Monaghan General Hospital.
General Secretary Liam Doran said the INMO was extremely concerned at the unprecedented number of patients on trolleys at this time of year.
Mr Doran said the union would be very serioulsy concerned about the ability of the health care system to deal with the peak in demand traditionally experienced during the autumn and winter months.
He commented that, while the figures for the midpoint of August would be higher than expected, the worst could be yet to come in the months of November and December.
“I shudder to think what will happen then,” the General Secretary stated.
Mr Doran pointed out that there were already serious problems because of overcrowding in emergency departments in a number of hospitals throughout the country.
Describing the situation was “unprecedented”, he said that the INMO were atemtping to respond on a site-by-site basis, depending on the situation.
Mr Doran said he had never been more worried, both in a personal and professional capacity, about the pressures facing the health service and its ability to look after people properly in an acute hospital, long-term facility or their own home.
“All aspects of the service have been cut, both in terms of staffing resource and even in terms of raw materials. The health service is being crucified by retrenchment,” he said.
Mr Doran said the total recruitment embargo was killing the system. It was uncontrolled, unmanageable and was doing further damage on a weekly basis to the system’s ability to provide safe care.
“We are sending out booklets to all of our hospitals that will be on every ward within the next three to four weeks and they will allow our members to officially record when they are unhappy about the standards of care they are able to provide due to staffing or other shortages.”

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