Tuesday 22 May 2018

'Worse than a cattle mart' - INMO hit out at treatment of elderly patients

A woman, suffering from Alzheimer's desease, holds the hand of a relative
A woman, suffering from Alzheimer's desease, holds the hand of a relative
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has slammed the treatment of elderly people in Ireland as "worse than cattle at a cattle mart."

INMO delegate Sandra Morton emotionally hit out at the treatment of some elderly patients within a healthcare system that is stretched to the limit in terms of resources.

"They (elderly people) are treated worse than cattle at a cattle mart," she said.

"If we don't stand up for these people today, what are nurses and midwives for?"

"We are the only people in this country stopping death."

"A very clear message needs to go back to the HSE and to Tony O'Brien."

Ms Morton was speaking at the INMO's 99th delegate conference in Cork dealt with motions on stopping the privatisation of home care services and the provision of medical cards to people based on nursing need rather than means testing.

The conference also overwhelmingly passed a motion from Dublin North INMO branch calling for a support system for nurses and midwives facing Fitness To Practice (FTP) hearings.

Dr Edward Mathews , INMO Director of Social Policy and Regulation, warned that such FTP processes exert enormous strain on nurses and midwives - with some admitting the strain was so great they even suffered from suicidal ideation.

In 2017, the INMO spent Euro 600,000 in supporting members in such FTP hearings.

A single FTP case can cost up to Euro 20,000 just for the preliminary process and, if it goes to full hearing, it can cost as much as Euro 80,000.

“The time taken to go to hearing is increasing and the devastation experienced by our members is very concerning," he said.

“This is a reality colleagues. It is the worst time in people’s lives and it is perfectly common for us to encounter suicidal ideation, paranoia, depression, and anxiety as part of this process."

"More must be done by both the Nursing and Midwifery Board and employers to support nurses and midwives who are the subject of regulation in this way. It can’t all fall to us to support people."

“Regulation is a fact of life, and we have to support those who are regulated as well as regulating them."

“Just remember this - the level of media coverage associated with a FTP hearing is equivalent to someone going into the Central Criminal Court on a serious criminal charge."

“It will be dealt with on every national broadcaster, every local broadcaster, national print media and local print media."

"This is the type of environment that nurses and midwives exist in, that is the level of responsibility and accountability placed on the first day that you walk on the ward."

Dr Mathews said the INMO is now seeking that the FTP process be expedited, that hearing be in private but the outcome be published and that regulators support nurses and midwives rather than just pursuing them.

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