"The working conditions in Sligo University Hospital is causing them fatigue and stress which is affecting their health physically and mentally."
The HSE has told leitrimobserver.ie that they are expecting additional nursing staff to start in Emergency Department in the coming months as nurses presently claim the A&E is at crisis point.
In a query by the Observer to the HSE a spokesperson outlined "Staffing and recruitment plans are underway to address staffing deficits across the hospital. A significant overseas Nursing recruitment campaign is being actively progressed with a strong intention to have additional resources coming into the service within the next 3 months. Localised recruitment is also underway and the hospital expect 14 additional nursing staff to start in Emergency Department in the coming months.
This was in response to Sinn Fein Sligo/Leitrim Deputy Martin Kenny who raised the matter in the Dail this week.
He outlined "I have been contacted by nursing staff from the A&E department and patients who have attended A&E in Sligo University Hospital. Staff in the A&E are at breaking point. I have emails from nurses during the summer who state that they are so understaffed in the A&E that they are lucky to get a 30 minute break in 13 hour shift.
“One nurse told me today that at 3.30 yesterday 71 patients went through the A&E department since 8am that morning. There were only five nurses and three care assistants to look after these 71 patients.
“Last week I witnessed it myself when I had to bring my son to A&E with a broken finger he got playing hurling.
“Patients who were on trolleys were moved onto chairs during the day and then back onto the trolley that night while they waited for a bed.
“This is a totally unacceptable situation both for patients and nurses. These nurses are excellent at their jobs and provide great care but the working conditions in Sligo University Hospital is causing them fatigue and stress which is affecting their health physically and mentally.
“I understand that there is a promise of an additional eight nursing staff by the end of September but unfortunately we have heard these types of promises before.
“We need additional nursing staff in Sligo A&E and we need them now. The hospital and the HSE must act now to resolve this crisis and prevent it from getting worse.”
However the HSE outlined "The Emergency Department at Sligo University Hospital remains extremely busy with higher than average numbers of people attending over the past couple of months. In addition to this, a surge in Covid-19 admissions and a Covid-19 Outbreak has impacted on the capacity to deal with both Covid and non Covid patients, who must be treated in separate streams.
"The hospital regrets delays experienced by any patient and is committed to treating everyone who presents at the ED in order of medical priority. SUH asks people to contact their GP during normal surgery hours or the CareDoc GP Out of hours service in the first instance if their health problem is not urgent."
The spokesperson went on to outline that staffing and recruitment is underway adding "The modular Emergency Department will become operational shortly and will provide additional waiting, triage and minor injury spaces for patients. It will also provide a decanting space for patients arriving by ambulance. Also included in this unit are additional facilities for staff, such as restrooms, seminar rooms and office spaces.
"This area will provide for much improved staff facilities going forward. In addition, the internal reconfiguration works within the existing Emergency Department will also take place over the next 12 weeks to provide improved patient space within the department."
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