Staffing levels in Ireland’s health service are “in freefall”, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has warned today.
The union said staff numbers have been “decimated” by absences due to Covid-19, surging patient numbers and a lack of childcare for frontline staff.
The INMO Executive Council will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the crisis and receive updates from across the country.
Throughout the pandemic, one in 20 cases of coronavirus has been a nurse or midwife.
There are currently more than 1,000 Covid-19 patients in Irish hospitals for the first time, as the health service comes under increasing pressure.
INMO President and nurse, Karen McGowan, said: “the staffing situation has reached dire levels in many hospitals. I am getting constant reports from colleagues across the country, speaking of wards closing, rosters unfilled, and services under pressure and unmanageable workloads.
“The INMO’s Executive Council need to now evaluate these demands on our members and the personal toll this is taking on them. The government do not seem to understand the severe staffing pressures happening at the moment.”
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “staffing levels have been in freefall since Christmas. High Covid rates have decimated rosters, while driving up patient numbers. There are now over a thousand Covid-positive patients in our hospitals.
“Our members are highly skilled and totally dedicated, but they are also utterly exhausted and immediate supports must be provided to them.”