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Beaumont nurses stage another walkout protest

Nurses at Beaumont Hospital have told of the "appalling" conditions faced by patients in the overcrowded emergency department.

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) at Beaumont held a lunchtime protest at the gates of the hospital yesterday.

Inside, there were 37 people on trolleys and wards waiting for a bed.

Vanessa Kelleher (37), from Ballyboughal, who works in the emergency department as a clinical nurse manager, said it is difficult to get around.

"There's no space even to walk in between trolleys," she said. "So you have patients lined up side by side on trolleys in the middle of the floor area in the department and you physically can't get in between the trolleys.

"You have to move every trolley out of the way in order to get to one patient."

She has been working for 11 years in the emergency department but, this month alone, three nurses are leaving the department for other opportunities.

"There are very difficult working conditions," she pointed out.

Putting up two extra wards is not the answer to the problem, she felt.

"I have seen the extra beds on the wards and these patients don't have a bed space, they don't have a bedside locker, there is no oxygen and no suction. They are behind a door, and every time the door opens it bangs off the bed."

Anne-Marie McGuire (33), from Clare, who has worked in the emergency department for eight years, said there are 26 trolleys in the department.

When it runs out of trolleys, the patients are on chairs.


"If there are no soft chairs, they are on hard plastic chairs, and that is what they are sitting on," she said.

It is also difficult for relatives of people sitting on chairs.

"At the end of the day you want your family member to be in a bed," she added.

Patient Colin Fanning, from Baldoyle, who spent 36 hours on a chair in the emergency department this week, offered his support to the nurses.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Leo Varadkar called for an "all hands on deck" approach to the problem.

When his predecessor James Reilly held the role he had promised: "You will not see again 569 people on trolleys in our hospitals."

However, Dr Reilly denied he broke his promise yesterday as 601 people were left on trollies waiting for beds on Tuesday.

"I kept my promise while I was Minister for Health. I am not the Minister for Health now," he said on RTE radio.