Dangerous Environment Continues In Limerick ED

Patient Care being compromised on a daily basis

Nurses working in the Emergency Department (ED) of the Mid Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, who are members of the INMO and SIPTU, have brought their ongoing campaign, to address the clinical risk in this ED Department, to Dublin today as they;

–          Handed in letters, to An Taoiseach, the Minister for Health and the CEO of the Health Service Executive detailing the current position (letters attached);

–          held a lunchtime protest outside of Dail Eireann; and

–          met with all of the public representatives from the Mid West area constituencies.

The campaign continues because the HSE, despite the obvious overcrowding and resulting clinical risk, refuses to;

–          redeploy, as provided for under the current Public Service Agreement, nurses from other areas to this high risk area in the Emergency Department;

–          discuss the full implementation of the recommendations from the Minister’s own Special Delivery Unit published last week.

The extent of the deterioration in the patient care environment, available to those attending the ED in Limerick, can be best summarised by examination of the number of patients on trolleys, over the past two years, in the timeframe during which the reconfiguration programme, for the Mid West, was to take place.

This confirms the following;

  1. 54% increase in 2011 to date compared to 2009
  2. 84% increase in first 7 days of October 2011 compared to October 2009
  3. 91% increase in September 2011 compared to September 2009
  4. 192% increase in August 2011 compared to August 2009

These simple stark facts (see attached sheet) confirm the plight of patients, attending this ED, and the intolerable work environment now endured by nurses as they strive to provide safe care to vulnerable patients.

It is also worth noting that this level of overcrowding, in the Emergency Department, continues despite the fact that management have placed two extra beds on every inpatient ward thus compromising the care of the entire inpatient population.  The overcrowding of these wards has taken place despite the fact that there are over 100 acute beds closed, within the Mid Western Acute Hospital Group, that could, and should, be utilised to care for these sick patients.

Today’s protest, in Dublin is the latest step in this campaign which will continue until the unacceptable clinical risk has been acknowledged, by the HSE, and addressed through the redeployment of staff and the speediest possible implementation, in full, of the Special Delivery Unit’s reports/ recommendations.

Speaking this morning INMO Industrial Relations Officer for the Mid West Region, Mary Fogarty said;

This protest is about patient care and the management of risk, nothing more.  The nurses in the Mid West Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department are acting as they are obliged to do, speaking up and speaking out for patients in the interests of ensuring the patients health and well being.

The intolerable working environment, when we have proposals on the table capable of immediately reducing this risk, is inexplicable and the HSE owes it to the general pubic, and their staff, to explain why they will not implement the required measures immediately”.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Louise O’Reilly, said;

“We met today with elected representatives for the local area and we made it clear to them that the clinical risk to patients in the Mid West Regional Hospital is intolerable and that they need to use their office to bring this to the attention of the Minister for Health. We have asked them to ensure that the recommendations of the Special Delivery Unit report are implemented without delay. It is regrettable that this issue could not be resolved locally and that we have had to bring our protest from Limerick to Leinster House.”

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