The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) point out that today's Trolley/Ward Watch count confirms that, as of this morning, there were 541 patients admitted to hospital, who are on trolleys in Emergency Departments or Wards.
The INMO also notes that this day, last year, there were 331 people on trolleys so the situation is 63% worse, this year, than last year.
The figure for South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel on Tuesday was thirty two patients.
On Wednesday of last week, the number for the Clonmel hospital reached an all-time high of forty two.
The Nurses organisation say the situation is further compounded by the fact that there are currently 180 Acute beds closed, across the country, primarily due to the inability of the HSE to recruit the required numbers of nurses to staff these beds.
In addition INMO members in Cavan General Hospital and Mayo General Hospital were holding lunchtime protests today to highlight their professional concerns, for patients, arising from unsafe staffing levels.
The INMO say - "In view of this crisis, which is compromising both the health and wellbeing of hundreds of patients, and the nursing staff trying to care for them, the INMO believes the following emergency measures are now necessary;
1. The health service must, immediately, introduce an emergency nurse staffing initiative, inclusive of special measures, which will, begin to, address the critical situation which exists at this time;
In relation to staffing the following must be noted;
i. There are currently 140 staff nurse vacancies, in emergency departments, which represents almost a 10% vacancy rate.
ii. Health service management have failed to implement recommendations of an ED Expert Group, published last August, which called for additional (permanent) nursing staff to be recruited specifically to look after admitted patients in ED’s.
2. In addition Acute and Group Hospital Management must, immediately, make arrangements to roster all available senior clinical decision makers to cover the hospitals on an extended day / seven over seven basis.
This should lead to a minimum of 8.00am to 8.00pm presence over the seven day cycle.
This is necessary in order to ensure patient flow, prompt action on results from diagnostics and other tests and early decisions regarding admission/discharge.
3. Most hospitals must, if they have not already done so, cancel /defer all elective/ planned admissions to accommodate the patient presenting through the emergency department.