The nurse to patient ratio in Irish hospitals is putting increasing pressure on staff, according to the Irish Nurse and Midwife Organisation (INMO).
INMO is calling for the HSE to attend this week’s Emergency Department Taskforce meeting “with renewed and workable solutions” to reduce overcrowding and staffing issues.
While there should be one nurse of every six to eight patients, the current ratio in Ireland is typically 14 to one.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said this puts incredible pressure on staff.
“If you have 14 patients instead of eight, obviously everybody is going to get less time and there is going to be delays,” she said.
“That is not the fault of the person who is rostered and trying to do their best, but they simply cannot do two people’s jobs.”
INMO also said 5,210 patients have been without a bed in Irish hospitals since September, including 100 children.
Ms Ní Sheaghdha said this puts the patient’s health at risk.
“If you spend longer than six hours on a trolley, the likelihood of you recovering at the rate that you should from the original illness is reduced,” she said.
“It is completely poor practice, it is bad for patients, we know all of the studies tell us this.”
Labour Health Spokesperson said the work expected of Irish nurses currently is “onerous and tough”.
“There is a high level of burnout which is impacting our ability to staff our hospitals,” he said.
“That is something that our government has been absolutely asleep at the wheel in addressing,