As the health service continues to creak under the weight of rising Covid-19 numbers the local INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) representative Maurice Sheehan has outlined the difficulties under pressure nurses are currently dealing with in our hospitals.
According to Maurice tired nurses have been working extra hours covering shifts with staff numbers depleted due to a number of COVID-19 cases within the hospital. A number of other problems are also affecting nurses according to Maurice including worries about safety at work, childcare issues and fatigue.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda currently has 109 Covid-19 patients, more than double the number of patients being treated last week, according to the latest Health Service Executive (HSE) figures.
Maurice Sheehan insists that there’s “fatigue” amongst staff during the third wave of Covid-19.
“Many staff are off work due to Covid-19 or because they are close contacts and this is compounding the difficulties,” he said.
“This is a health and safety issue. We want practical policies to ensure staff are kept as safe as possible and there are no unnecessary risks.”
The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospitals has increased to 1,700, according to HSE CEO Paul Reid.
There are 143 patients with Covid-19 in ICUs, with over half of these on ventilators.
Mr Sheehan added: “We need a flexibility by management to ensure safety is prioritised and that includes rapidly vaccinating staff.
“We need protocols for the ability to adopt safety measures as the pandemic escalates. We need to plan regarding the fallout from decreasing staff levels which is an issue at the moment.
“Childcare is also a huge issue for staff at the moment. Staff should be supported. We are very concerned that members with long term Covid-19 illness get the back-up they deserve.”
He concluded: “Health and safety issues are always emerging and its important policies on health and safety are communicated to staff for example pregnant healthcare workers are high risk and should be working from home,” added Maurice.