Mid-west regional hospital, limerick is unsafe due to whole hospital being overcrowded

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) are today battling to maintain a safe level of care to patients at the Mid Western Regional Hospital, Limerick. The Hospital is stretched beyond manageable and safe parameters in terms of the volume of admitted patients requiring medical and nursing care, and available beds and nursing staff to administer safe care.

This morning there are:

34 patients on trolleys in ED (3 of whom are children)
12 admitted patients on beds in the Medical Assessment Unit
11 patients on beds in the Surgical Day Ward
25 on beds in Ward 1B where closed beds have re-opened with skeleton staff
14 patients on extra beds/trolleys around wards

In effect, the hospital has 96 additional in-patients above the normal capacity of approximately 350 in-patient beds. The staff at the hospital cannot deliver safe care to such volumes of additional patients without extra staff.

10 beds at the hospital are closed due to an infection outbreak. This gross overcrowding is almost certainly a contributing factor to infection outbreaks and has a bearing on patient outcomes.

Speaking this morning INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Mary Fogarty said:

“In February 2012 this hospital is under the worst pressure ever experienced and, despite the Minister’s assurances of improvements and Special Delivery Unit recommendations, the situation is deteriorating further. Additional nursing staff and acute in-patient beds must be prioritised to address this crisis and to prevent a major unavoidable incident at the Mid West Regional Hospital. It is incomprehensible that a hospital is allowed to reach such levels of over capacity which undoubtedly lead to unsafe practices, low standards of care, mistakes and neglect of ill patients.

We are today calling for the HSE to implement the major disaster plan and to call on GPs in the region to attend the hospital to provide any assistance that they may be able to offer.”

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