An un­wel­come mile­stone for UHK


The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - By SI­MON BROUDER

LAST month was the worst Oc­to­ber on record for over­crowd­ing at Univer­sity Hospi­tal Kerry ac­cord­ing to new fig­ures from the Ir­ish Nurses and Mid­wives Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The INMO’s Trol­ley Watch fig­ures show there were 287 pa­tients on trol­leys at UHK dur­ing Oc­to­ber.

That’s the high­est fig­ure for Oc­to­ber recorded since the INMO launched its daily Trol­ley Watch ser­vice in 2006.

It is also more than dou­ble the fig­ure recorded in Oc­to­ber 2015 when there were 137 pa­tients on trol­leys, and eleven times higher than Oc­to­ber 2012, when just 26 pa­tients were on trol­leys.

The union says that much of the over­crowd­ing is down to un­der­staffing, caused pri­mar­ily by unattrac­tively low pay for nurses and mid­wives. Ac­cord­ing to HSE fig­ures, as of Septem­ber 2018, Ire­land’s health ser­vice has 227 fewer staff nurses than De­cem­ber 2017.

INMO Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Phil Ní Sheaghdha – who is from Ceann Trá – said the fig­ures only tell part of the story.

“Over 9,000 pa­tients were forced to wait on trol­leys, and it’s not even peak win­ter sea­son,” she said.

“Fig­ures like these do not ad­e­quately ex­press the hard­ship en­dured by pa­tients who find them­selves in these cir­cum­stances.

“The neg­a­tive health im­pacts of this over­crowd­ing are known, yet this is not ad­dressed as a na­tional pri­or­ity,” she said.

“Our cur­rent health ser­vice sim­ply does not have the ca­pac­ity to cope. The gov­ern­ment ac­cept that we need ad­di­tional beds, but we do not have a plan to tackle this daily prob­lem. Open­ing ex­tra beds re­quires ex­tra nurses, but low pay means there is no im­me­di­ate prospect of re­cruit­ing ad­di­tional nurses or re­tain­ing cur­rent ones,” said Ms Ní Sheaghdha.

On Mon­day the INMO Trol­ley Watch fig­ures showed that there were 13 pa­tients on Trol­leys at Univer­sity Hospi­tal Kerry.

INMO Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Phil Ni Sheaghdha

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