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‘Nothing happens without nurses we are the most flexible workforce’

In our second installment of our ‘Day in the Life’ series, Dan Danaher speaks with Ennis Hospital’s Director of Nursing Patricia O’Gorman EVERYONE took nurses for granted before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Ennis Hospital director of nursing, Patricia O’Gorman. Patricia believes there is now a greater appreciation of what nurses do after they upskilled, redeployed into different roles, moved six and seven times into different departments and counties, moved from day to night duty and travelled countless miles to work She would love to see a nursing representative in the National Public Health Emergency Team. “Nothing happens without nurses. We are the biggest and most flexible workforce,” she explains. She acknowledges there were some positive developments during the pandemic such as the provision of three isolation bays in the Ennis Medical Assessment Unit. “There was huge gratitude for health care workers. There was a lot of learning. A lot of nurses and clinicians were upskilled. There was a sense …

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Nurses account for one in 10 Covid-19 cases

ALMOST one in 10 (9.2%) diagnosed Covid-19 cases in Ireland are nurses, according to HSE figures, the INMO has said this afternoon. The figures show that healthcare workers make up over a quarter of the Covid-19 positive cases tested in Ireland, according to INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha Out of the 9,599 cases diagnosed by April 11, this amounted to 2,501 healthcare workers (26%) – over a third (883) of whom were nurses. Ireland faces one of the highest rates of diagnosed healthcare worker infection in Europe. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control found on April 8 that across Europe, “between 9% and 26% of all diagnosed Covid-19 cases are in healthcare workers.” The INMO has called for action and clarity on the figures, including: a universal face mask policy for all workers in healthcare settings; more frequent and detailed publication of statistics on healthcare worker infection, including the source of transmission; updated guidance on PPE and …

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nurses support strike ballot

    NURSES in Clare and throughout the Mid-West have overwhelmingly supported a national ballot for industrial action. The result of the ballot coincides with the revelation there are up to 60 nursing vacancies in University Hospital Limerick (UHL), which continues to struggle with overcrowding as INMO figures recorded 56 patients on trolleys on Tuesday, December 18. According to INMO industrial relations officer, Mary Fogarty, this doesn’t include ward nursing posts that were not funded since reconfiguration removed 24-hour casualty cover from Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals in April 2009. Ms Fogarty said eight beds were closed in St Camillus Hospital, Limerick and about ten funded beds in St Joseph’s Geriatric Hospital, Ennis. The union official pointed out if there was an examination about what St Joseph’s really required, this figure would be much higher. Asked if industrial action in the new year would made chronic overcrowding even worse, she stressed nurses were left with no other option. She said the …

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Increase in nursing school places needed

THE number of places available for students to study nursing in Ireland should be increased, according to Councillor Gabriel Keating. At a recent meeting of Clare County Council, he said, “An increase in points is being driven by the shortage of undergraduate places in our universities and institutes of technology. “The number of placements in general nursing programmes reduced from 1,870 places in 2009 to 1,500 places in 2015, due to the HSE decision that year to reduce the number of places as a cost-saving measure, given that as part of their education trainee nurses receive a payment when there are on placement in hospitals.” He said that nursing courses are becoming increasingly difficult to access. “For example, midwifery and nursing courses in UCC were both 445 points, while general nursing at UCD, IT Tralee and Trinity were all 425 points. “It is clear at this stage that the only way forward is to allow the 13 nursing schools to …

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University Hospital Limerick.

Uncertainty over emergency department opening date

CONCERN is growing over the lack of a definitive date for the opening of the new Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL). UL Hospitals’ Group chief executive officer Colette Cowan told a recent HSE West Forum meeting that she hoped the new ED would open at the end of May, subject to funding and the recruitment of new nurses. Ms Cowan stated that about 20 of the 30 nurses required for the new ED have already been hired and the group confirmed this week that a few more have been employed since that meeting. However, Councillor Tom McNamara has expressed concern about the lack of a definite date for the opening of the new department. Councillor McNamara has called for an initiative to incentivise the retention of nurses in acute hospitals, such as providing free training to those studying nursing provided they stay for five years in the public system after they graduate. The Fianna Fáil councillor said …

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New video-link GP service for Kilrush

Plans have been unveiled for the provision of a video-based remote doctor service in Kilrush, as efforts intensify to halt cutbacks in the out-of-hours Shannondoc service in West and East Clare. It remains to be seen if this will satisfy campaigners seeking a full restoration of GP out-of-hours services throughout the county. Under a new rationalisation plan, which was supported by doctors at a recent annual general meeting, Shannondoc’s Kilrush and Ennistymon services will relocate to Miltown Malbay during weekdays, with the same operating hours applying. Kilrush and Ennistymon will only now open at weekends until 7pm. Shannondoc is to introduce a video-based remote doctor service at its Kilrush centre, allowing it to remain open nightly for two hours. The new service provides for a remote doctor to connect with the Kilrush clinic via a secure, high-definition video link. Patients will contact Shannondoc as they normally would and a triage nurse will first determine if the patient requires a GP …

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Nurses reject proposals to avert industrial action

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), working in the country’s 26 emergency departments, on Tuesday evening rejected, by a margin of 58% to 42%, proposals, brokered by the WRC, to address overcrowding, staffing and patient safety issues. The INMO Executive Council, in response to the ballot result, has convened a National Meeting, of the Emergency Department Strike Committees and Representatives, for 12 noon, on this Thursday, in INMO Head Office. In addition, the executive council has sanctioned the first day of strike action, involving two hour rolling stoppages, for Thursday, January 14 ,with subsequent days of action following later. The INMO Executive Council, at a special meeting today, also reviewed the feedback from information meetings held in recent weeks. At these meetings it was clearly stated that members have no confidence, in local management, to deliver, on a 24/7 basis, the required changes to improve the environment for both patients and staff in Emergency Departments. This lack of confidence was confirmed, in …

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Ennis nurses provide cover in Limerick

Regular transfers of nurses from Ennis Hospital to cover staffing shortages at University Hospital Limerick has heightened fears about future downgrading. HSE Forum West chairman, Councillor Tom McNamara, has registered his concern about why nurses who are rostered for duty in Ennis Hospital are being requested to report for duty at UHL on an ongoing basis. At a forum meeting in Galway on Tuesday, he said, “This is giving out the wrong message about Ennis Hospital. Clare people are worried that Ennis Hospital is being downgraded by the fact that staff are being moved out of the hospital to deal with a situation in UHL. “The HSE needs to deal its staffing shortage in UHL as quickly as possible. I know that it is not easy to get additional staff but the go-ahead has been given for more recruitment,” he said. While Councillor McNamara acknowledged there is a lack of staff at UHL, he claimed it is creating the wrong …

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