The INMO’s Executive Council has called for urgent government intervention in the health service.The growth in COVID cases has put their frontline members under “unprecedented” pressure. The nurses and midwives on the union’s elected body have called for:
INMO President and emergency department nurse, Karen McGowan, said: “The message from our members is very clear. The system is overloaded and they cannot cope.
“Decisions at every level are happening too late to prevent infection and overburden. The consequences are increasingly clear - our frontline members are paying the price.”
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “This is a national emergency. It should be treated as such. The public health service was not fit for purpose before the pandemic – it is now under a level of pressure not seen before.
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“We are at the point where staff are not able to cope. There are huge numbers of very sick patients, with 7,000 HSE staff now out for COVID reasons. Over 2,500 healthcare workers a week are getting the virus.
“Our Executive Council has set out five practical measures the government should intervene with. We need all hands on deck in the health service and frontline staff must be protected.
“Safety standards need an urgent upgrade. Last year, the INMO had to campaign to get facemasks in healthcare settings. We were told it was not possible or necessary, but eventually they listened. We now know that all staff need to be issued with high-standard FFP2 masks, as has been done in Cork University Hospital.
“It is beyond time to nationalise all private hospital capacity and to provide childminding for healthcare workers with children. Similarly, we cannot ask students to take on more work at the expense of learning, for no or low pay.”
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