Covid-19 surge in Northern Ireland leaves nurses ‘scared and tired’


Northern Ireland’s health minister is asking for military help to support difficult and stress-free health and care services, as nurses warn they work amid “the worst conditions. that they have to deal with ”.

A clear message from Robin Swann emphasized the nation’s services “are under pressure like never before” and that he is “determined to activate any step that could reduce situation in any way “.

“Members came to us in large numbers to tell us that these were the worst situations they had ever faced”

Rita Devlin

Services in Northern Ireland are now facing unprecedented challenges posed by a current surge of Covid-19 across the country and running at excess capacity across health service beds.

In the past seven days there have been 8,662 positive Covid-19 cases recorded nationwide, the latest figures show.

Currently, there are currently 421 beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, in addition to 2,558 other occupied beds and 190 people waiting for entry into the country. This means that the number of bunk beds is currently at 103% and 86 beds over capacity.

In nursing homes there were 108 active confirmed Covid -19 outbreaks – two or more cases in a facility – confirmed, as of Sept. 17.

The situation has led to significant disruptions to all health and care services, including “prolonged delays” in emergency services and cancellations of some planned appointments and treatment, according to Health and Social. Care Board in Northern Ireland.

In recent days, some trusts in the country have been forced to take refuge on social media and have asked nursing staff and others to go and work further change amid the ongoing pressure.

Speaking to Watch Hours Today, Rita Devlin, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland, emphasizes the “most significant impact” that the latest Covid-19 surge has had on hospital and community services.

“No area of ​​the health service is left untouched and we are especially concerned, not only with the impact on patients but on staff who have no respite from it,” he said.

“Members came to our gathering to tell us that these were the worst conditions they had ever faced, and they were scared about what to do in the coming months.

“The high volume of calls and concerns at RCN led us to look at what we can do to reduce staff time to directly devote patient care.”

He pointed out that coercive services were now under pressure in September, “it doesn’t usually happen until the height of the winter”.

“As cases increase the number of available staff may decrease which can help with staff pressures at this challenging time”

Spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust

The nurses were “demoralized and tired” as he said, warning that “nothing has been left for more than a year”.

Ms Devlin continued to have ongoing fears about the number of nurses who could look around because of the situation.

“We are really concerned about what lies ahead and how many people are seriously considering leaving the profession because they can no longer afford it,” Ms Devlin said. Watch Hours.

“Nursing is a profession that is critical to safety, and you can’t run a health service without nurses.

“We need to keep this skilled staff and we need to give it value.

“If we don’t talk about this situation there’s no doubt it will get worse.

“It should be a priority to find solutions to the very serious issues we face, and an exhausted care workforce is high on the list.”

The RCN in Northern Ireland was also “shocked” to hear reports from members that included their challenges in trying to deliver nurse care to patients, in their workload ”, said Ms Devlin.

“These can be administrative tasks, moving tasks, household chores and in some cases security activities,” he explains.

“It’s like if no one else can do it, the nurses have to get rid of the lazy.

“It is unfair and unacceptable and should be treated as a matter of urgency.

“Care is a scarce resource and nurses don’t have to spend their valuable time on tasks and services that other staff can do.”

He criticized the cuts to support health and social care services in Northern Ireland leading in this position, saying it was “just one of the issues we need to provide urgently to make our service more effective. in health ”.

“Strong efforts are being made to reduce pressures and plan for the winter”

Robin Swann

The RCN is calling for a health summit to “examine what more can be done to alleviate the current situation”, said Ms Devlin, who explained the RCN’s concerns were raised “to every level possible”, including the care regulator.

Watch Hours contacted Northern Ireland trusts to inquire about the situation in their local area.

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust was the only organization to issue a statement saying: “Covid-19 is flooding into our local community and just like other hospitals across Northern Ireland, there is currently a very high demand for urgent care.

“In addition, there are many Covid-19 inpatients in our hospitals.

“Unfortunately, due to the increase in cases in our local community the number of available staff can be reduced which can help pressure staff at this challenging time.”

The Northern Ireland Department of Health has confirmed that health minister Mr Swann has now sought military assistance for health and care services.

“The current situation is different from the pressures of earlier stages of the pandemic,” he explained.

“We have an ongoing and serious threat to Covid coupled with a growing pressure cooker environment in the overall health and care community.”

He added: “The staff is exhausted, facing the pandemic and its effects every day, day, month, month apart, for the very best part of two years.

“I was very worried about the challenges they were facing. I will tell them this directly – please be sure of the genuine support and gratitude from me as a minister and from the people of Northern Ireland. Thank you for your continued work and dedication and for going far, beyond the extra mile.

“I really know how tough it is. The system is simply incapable of dealing with the level of demand and demand to enter.

“Strong efforts are being made to minimize pressures and plan for the winter.”



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