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04 Jul 2022

'Profit must be secondary' - INMO calls for public and private hospitals to act as one

'Profit must be secondary' - INMO calls for public and private hospitals to act as one

'Profit must be secondary' - INMO calls for public and private hospitals to act as one

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is calling for public and private hospitals to act as one to ease capacity issues. 

General Secretary of the INMO, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, made the comments today after revealing there has been a 110% increase in November trolley numbers compared to the same time last year. 

Eight thousand three hundred and seventeen patients were waiting on trolleys this month compared to 3,934 during the same month in 2020. 

She said, "We need to see an increase in capacity and utilise the private hospitals. We are now at a stage where we need all of our health services including public and private to be acting as one. The public service is under too much pressure to be expected to shoulder the entire burden of the pandemic.

"This is the time for private hospitals to step up and be fully involved with this public health emergency. The need to make profit must be secondary at this time." 

According to the Irish Times, capacity at private hospitals was bought by the State at the beginning of the Covid crisis. 

However, a mid-September meeting of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this year was told that no more than 45% of capacity was used. 

The deal for three months of access at 18 private hospitals reportedly cost €287million. 

University Hospital Limerick (1,358), Letterkenny University Hospital (1,067) and Cork University Hospital (726) were the most overcrowded hospitals this month, with totals of 1,358, 1,067 and 726 patients respectively. 

Ní Sheaghdha continued: "Yet again, University Hospital Limerick, Letterkenny University Hospital and Cork University Hospital have the highest number of patients on trolleys. This is a consistent problem in these areas. We need to see bespoke plans from management on how they plan to tackle this problem as we enter the winter months." 

"Our members are mentally and physically exhausted. They have been working with no easing of pressure since January 2020. We tend to forget with everything that has happened since COVID first landed on our shores that nurses were dealing with chronic overcrowding in our hospitals with over 20,000 people on trolleys in the first two months of 2020." 

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