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‘Critical emergency’ protocols needed due to ‘unrecognisable health service’, INMO warns

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The INMO have called for a "drastic reduction" in the footfall at hospitals in new "critical emergency" protocols.

The INMO have called for a "drastic reduction" in the footfall at hospitals in new "critical emergency" protocols.

The INMO have called for a "drastic reduction" in the footfall at hospitals in new "critical emergency" protocols.

New “critical emergency” protocols are needed immediately to deal with the increasing pressure on the health service, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has warned.

There are now over 1,150 Covid-19 patients in Irish hospitals for the first time, with over 100 hospitalisations in the last 24 hours. The numbers in ICU have also risen above 100 for the first time with 109 patients in intensive care settings nationwide.

The union have called for a “drastic reduction” in footfall in hospitals among other protocols as an acknowledgement of the extent of the threat faced by the health service and its workers.

The INMO are seeking additional PPE, increased communication with staff and have repeated its call for provision of childcare for all healthcare workers.

The nurses and midwives on the union’s elected board spoke of the severe pressure understaffing and increased COVID cases were putting on the health service.

INMO President and emergency department nurse, Karen McGowan, said: “a new level of crisis demands a new approach. The HSE needs to upgrade its protocols and safety measures urgently to take account of the rapid growth of this virus.

“The health service we had just last month is unrecognisable today,” the INMO President said, adding: “staff on the ground are telling us that a drastic upgrade in safety is needed, to protect workers and patients alike.”

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “it is time for the HSE to ramp up safety plans and introduce critical emergency protocols.

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“During the nursing and midwifery strike in 2019, we held daily meetings with the HSE and across hospitals to ensure that safety was maintained. We need to adopt the same mindset today.

“We have safety protocols that have been tweaked since March of last year – the level of pandemic we face now means many need a total overhaul or serious upgrade. The EU biological agent directive was adopted in Ireland in November. It requires the HSE to risk assess and adopt their approach to staff safety - this is the ask and the requirement.”


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