Letterkenny General Hospital was yesterday struggling to cope with an overcrowding crisis that at one stage had left 15 patients waiting for a bed.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said it was the first time this year that such numbers had been waiting for beds and warned that the health and safety of staff and patients was being comprised due to the overcrowding.
The hospital cancelled clinics yesterday morning as staff struggling to cope with the situation which the INMO has blamed on bed closures.
According to the INMO there were 12 patients in outpatients yesterday morning with four in the emergency department overnight. At lunch-time there were seven patients in the emergency department awaiting beds and another 20 in the overflow short stay ward. The coffee dock was closed as it was used as a waiting area.
The INMO says the hospital is operating at 100 per cent over its capacity. North West Representative of the INMO Maura Hickey said: “Letterkenny has now becoming another one of the hospitals that has fallen to the overcrowding due to beds closed. That short stay ward is supposed to be closed and operating as a medical assessment unit and surgical assessment unit.”
She said the hospital’s response to the overcrowdingwas inadequate and called on the hospital to use its escalation policy which would allow all consultants to be brought in to do extra ward rounds.
“Nurses and midwives in the hospital are being compromised, as are patients, from a health and safety perspective and an infection control perspective.
“You have sick patients lying on trolleys in outpatients and you have patients coming in who are relatively well who are waiting to be seen in a clinic. You don’t have the increased staff to deal with the situation and you don’t have the facilities in an outpatients department to deal with an inpatients.”