THE IRISH Nurses and
Midwives' Organisation (INMO) has called on the HSE
to make contact with health authorities in the North
for assistance in dealing with "chronic
overcrowding" at Letterkenny University Hospital.
There are 30 patients waiting for beds at the
hospital today, a slight improvement on the 46
patients awaiting admission yesterday.
Letterkenny has the third highest number of patients
on trolleys nationwide today along with Tipperary
(30). Limerick (41 patients) has the highest
followed by Galway (31 patients).
A further 14 patients have been discharged by
consultants but step-down services are currently
unavailable, the nurses' union said.
INMO industrial relations officer Maura Hickey
confirmed that the Emergency Department National
Escalation Policy had been applied in Letterkenny
with management opening three escalation areas to
house some of these patients. Others are being
nursed in treatment rooms or on ward corridors.
Some day services work has been cancelled while
elective procedures in theatres have been cancelled.
Nursing staff in the Day Services Unit are looking
after patients in the overflow escalation areas. The
INMO said the situation had "progressively worsened
over the past month".
Meanwhile, the nurses' union said it had learned
that there are over 14 patients in the hospital who
have been clinically discharged, to other services,
which are unavailable at this time. GP and
self-referrals to the ED continue to be high, it
Meanwhile, the hospital has seen an increase of 10%
in attendance at the Emergency Department.
Ms Hickey said: “This volume of overcrowding in
Letterkenny University Hospital is not sustainable
and cannot be allowed to continue. It is imperative
that additional bed capacity (in both acute and
continuing care) and extra home help and home care
packages are provided, with full funding,
immediately, to ease this crisis situation.
“This is such a crisis, the INMO is also calling on
HSE management to immediately engage with
neighbouring health services, including in Northern
Ireland, to see what additional capacity it can
supply in the interests of patient care.”