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02 Dec 2021

Ireland's frontline nurses and midwives make desperate plea to public as Covid-19 Christmas surge causes 'extreme pressure'

Ireland's frontline nurses and midwives make desperate plea to public as Covid-19 Christmas surge causes 'extreme pressure'

Portlaoise hospital nurses on the Covid-19 coalface since March

The union that represents thousands of nurses at the Covid-19 frontline has urged the people of Ireland to stay home because its members are reporting that hospitals are under “extreme” pressure due to a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says it has been contacted by concerned frontline members across the country this weekend, pointing to a major increase in the number of patients presenting, along with high levels of staff out on COVID leave or for self-isolation.

Cork University Hospital, for example, has:

  • Over 100 nurses out for COVID reasons, including ICU
  • One ward closed, as there were only four nurses available to staff it
  • No additional available ICU/critical care beds (as of 18:30 on Saturday)

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, outlined the situation faced and issued the plea to the people of Ireland.

“What we are hearing from members across the country this weekend is deeply disturbing. The progress we made on keeping case numbers down seems to be completely undone.

“COVID is creating more patients while also depleting staffing. It’s a vicious combination. Staff are far more experienced than they were at the start of this pandemic, but the sheer numbers are difficult to cope with.

“Frontline staff are running three services in parallel – a COVID health service, a non-COVID health service, and a mass vaccination scheme. This can only work if pressure on our hospitals is eased.

“On behalf of Ireland’s nurses and midwives, the INMO is asking that the public stay home and strictly follow public health advice. The vaccine is being rolled out – we simply need to keep cases down.

“We need all hands on deck here. The government and HSE must focus on supporting the exhausted frontline healthcare workers. This means taking on additional capacity in the private sector and ensuring the childcare needs of frontline workers are taken into account," she said.

NPHET reported that as of 2pm on Januay 2, 607 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 56 are in ICU. An 71 additional hospitalisations in the previous 24 hours.

 

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