The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has welcomed the publication of the Health Service Capacity Review which outlines projections of demand and capacity requirements for a range of health services to 2031.
The INMO says that “investment and reform must go hand in hand if we are to break the cycle of hospital overcrowding.”
Findings of the report show that the system is already operating at “above capacity across most services” – and these demands will grow significantly over the period to 2031.
The report identifies that the acute hospital sector, under its current configuration, requires 7,150 extra hospital beds in public hospitals and, with the necessary reforms, would reduce this requirement to 2,600. Moreover, 190 more adult critical care beds are needed as well as 13,000 extra residential care beds for older people. There must be a 48% increase in the Primary Care workforce and a 120% increase in homecare.
The report confirms that ED attendances are forecast to significantly increase and yesterday’s figures (23 January) were actually the second highest figure ever since the INMO started counting trolleys over 15 years ago, with 668 people awaiting admission on trolleys and in ward waiting areas across Ireland. This has decreased to 601 today (33 of whom are waiting in Letterkenny University Hospital).
Phil Ni Sheaghdha, General Secretary of the INMO said: “The recruitment of nurses is the key to the realisation of the necessary increased capacity and the simple reality is that, under the current conditions, the Irish health service is failing to either attract or retain nurses.
“We are currently losing this battle and unless conditions are significantly improved for nurses this year, 2031 will remain an aspiration”.
Health Minister Simon Harris says: “We know we have entered a relatively new phase of demographic ageing in Ireland. Our population also continues to grow. These changes will have particular impacts on the demand for health services, as older age cohorts tend to be the highest users of most health services.
“It is clear that investment and reform must now happen in tandem and must be mutually supportive of each other.”
The current overcrowding and the shortage of nursing staff are matters that will be discussed with the HSE and Department of Health at the scheduled WRC oversight meeting today. According to the INMO less than half of the required nurses to care for the additional admitted patients in the ED Departments have been recruited since agreed over a year ago.Tags: