Nurses in work-to-rule over A&E overcrowding
Some 35 patients were on trolleys in the emergency department of St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin yesterday morning, as nurses began a work-to-rule in protest at overcrowding.
The nurses are refusing to carry out some duties such as answering phones, but they are insisting that patient care will not be affected.
Efforts by management to deploy more nurses were blocked by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), which insisted that they be paid at a premium rate.
"This is contrary to the claim by the INMO that this dispute is not about money," a hospital spokesman insisted.
He warned that the nurses' action is causing increased challenges for the hospital's emergency department.
Nationally, 367 patients were on emergency department trolleys yesterday morning and another 102 patients were on trolleys on wards.
Beaumont Hospital in Dublin was worst hit with 42 on trolleys, while 30 were on trolleys in Cork University Hospital.
Following a meeting of the task force to relieve overcrowding, all hospitals have been told to carefully analyse bed stock and "get sufficient numbers of staff in place to open beds over the next two months".
The aim is to open another 454 beds before the end of the year, including 300 new beds.
Although the delays in allocating a nursing home bed under the Fair Deal scheme have now been sorted, there is a shortage of nursing home places in some areas.