Letterkenny University Hospital
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMO) has described the overcrowding situation at Letterkenny University Hospital as a crisis and has called on the HSE to enlist the help of hospitals across the border.
The INMO had reported there were 45 patients waiting for beds at the hospital on Wednesday morning. The figure was the joint-highest in the country.
The INMO said the Emergency Department National Escalation Policy had been applied, with management opening three escalation areas to house some patients and others nursed in treatment rooms or ward corridors.
The situation has worsened in the past two weeks, the INMO said, saying the hospital has seen a 10 per cent increase in emergency department attendances since January. They called record overcrowding further evidence that measures taken to date are insufficient to deal with the increase.
INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Maura Hickey described the situation at the hospital as a crisis.
“This volume of overcrowding in Letterkenny University Hospital is not sustainable and cannot be allowed to continue. It is imperative that additional bed capacity (in both acute and continuing care) and extra home help and home care packages are provided, with full funding, immediately, to ease this crisis situation,” she said.
“This is such a crisis the INMO is also calling on HSE management to immediately engage with neighbouring health services, including in Northern Ireland, to see what additional capacity it can supply in the interests of patient care.”
Meanwhile there has been a number of confirmed cases of the vomiting bug at the hospital.
The HSE is asking people to comply with visitor restrictions on medical 3 and in the coronary care unit.
Visiting is limited to compassionate grounds only and must be prearranged with the ward managers.
The hospital is asking anyone who has experienced nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours, or who has a family member who has experienced such symptoms, not to visit the hospital.
Members of the public who are experiencing these symptoms are asked to first phone their local GP before presenting at the local practice.
Children should not visit the hospital as they may be particularly susceptible to the illness.