University Hospital Galway has admitted a lack of privacy and dignity for some patients attending its emergency department.
The West/North West Hospital Group, which includes UHG, says some patients have experienced “difficulties” attending the emergency department despite the efforts of staff and management.
The group was responding to criticisms of conditions made by nurses who are today staging a lunchtime protest to highlight overcrowding in the department.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says patients are being deprived of care with dignity because of the overcrowding and the use of corridors in which to treat them.
In its statement, the hospital group says the build-up of patients in the department is linked to bed availability throughout the hospital.
It says there is a commitment from community services to source more beds in the community so that hospital beds currently filled by long-term care patients can be freed up.
“The nursing staff shortage in the ED is being addressed and the applications of 11 new nursing staff are being processed at the moment and nine more job offers have been made.
“We also expect to shortly commence recruitment of four new paediatric nurses,” according to the statement.
Stress management support is being provided to nursing staff, the hospital says, adding that the emergency department building needs to be updated and an application for capital funding is being made.
Today’s protest is being supported by the INMO and Siptu. It is not expected to lead to any disruption of services.