Nurses on duty during the pandemic at Portlaoise hospital
Staffing and capacity in Portlaoise and Tullamore hospitals require urgent action according to Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley.
The Sinn Féin TD made the call when speaking in the Dáil on a motion he said calls for fairness to nurses and midwives.
“Nurses and midwives deliver incredible front-line services in very difficult conditions. Only two weeks ago, along with Deputy Cullinane, I met with management at Portlaoise hospital and nurses’ union to discuss access to care and chronic capacity problems within the hospital.
"Unfortunately, this is mirrored throughout the State. Covid admissions at Portlaoise hospital doubled between 1st October and 1st November.
"Capacity issues are causing serious problems in service provision, which is putting a lot of pressure on staff. This is impacting negatively on retention because of staff burnout, overwork, long shifts and few breaks. Nurses will go elsewhere.
“According to the HSE’s own website, there were no beds available in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or High Dependency Unit (HDU) at Portlaoise hospital on November 1. There were no free beds in those units. There were also no ICU or HDU beds at Tullamore hospital. In fact, Portlaoise ICU was at full capacity except for four days during the month of October.’’
“Hospitals in the Midlands are operating at 100% occupancy most of the time. We must address this. These are worrying statistics considering a range of reports, including the 2018 Slaintecare Health Service Review, recommend reducing capacity to 80%," he said.
He said his party wants our frontline health care workers to be recognised for their contribution, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dep Stanley added that the Dáil motion called for student nurses and midwives to receive fair pay allowances immediately. He added that government must to engage meaningfully with health and social care trade unions to deliver on pay and conditions.
"We are one of the highest-spending countries per capita in the OECD on healthcare. It is therefore very frustrating that consecutive governments have failed to address this chronic capacity issue.’’
“Sinn Féin wants to deliver a healthcare system that works for patients, but also a system in which our nurses and midwives want to build a career. To do this, we need fair pay and adequate hospital capacity,” he said.
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