NURSES at Naas General Hospital are threatening strike action due to claims that the hospital is not a safe place for patients.
INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) Industrial Relations Officer Derek Reilly said their priority is to “make sure patients are safe” due to under staffing and overcrowding conditions that has seen a whopping 3,022 patients on trolleys from January to June 2011.
“Patient’s are not safe at Naas General Hospital,” he said. “We are meeting with management today (Tuesday) to see if they can offer extra staff and open the 24 closed beds for patients. If they can not we will strike in three weeks time as we have to give notice.”
Dymphna Bracken, Press Officer for the HSE said “everything possible is being done”.
“As there is a ballot in progress we can’t make any comment,” she said.
“But everything possible is being done throughout the hospital and we are working with doctors, management and nurses towards reducing the waiting times however it all depends on the number of people going into Accident and Emergency. This figure tends to be lower in the summer than in the winter.”
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, (INMO), have hit back at the HSE by accusing hospital management of ‘playing down’ the figures on trolleys in the emergency department.
“We are concerned and frustrated that the emergency department at Naas General Hospital is again over-crowded with 28 patients (Friday’s figures), mostly elderly, waiting for an in-patient bed in the hospital,” said Derek.
“In addition to this, hospital management have placed patients on trolleys throughout the hospital in an effort to ‘play down’ the figures in the emergency department.
“These patients do not have access to oxygen and other vital equipment, and crucially, the hospital is chronically under staffed. These patients are not in a safe environment.”
According to the INMO the nursing staff in Naas General Hospital are now ‘exasperated’ with the situation in the Emergency Department.
“They have complied with every HSE initiative to alleviate overcrowding but they have not received co-operation from consultants and management at the hospital. We have no choice but to take action to highlight our concerns with regard to patient safety and the terrible working conditions our members have to endure.”
In response, the HSE spokesperon, Ms Bracken confirmed that in terms of staffing, Naas General Hospital was just two short of the 50 plus junior doctors assigned to it.
“There are junior doctors coming in from India and Pakistan to fill the vacancies,” she said. The HSE does not anticipate any significant impact on patient services at Naas hospital”.