Galway’s emergency department have hit out at management for what they say is their failure to pass on an important report about the unit to them. The members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation say they are appalled that the report on the external review of the department has remained firmly in management’s possession.
Clare Treacy, the union’s industrial relations officer in the west, says as part of a process, under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC ), emergency department nurses sought an external review in a bid to improve service delivery and patient safety.
The scope of the review included an examination of work practices with the sole purpose of identifying areas that need improvement. This is the only review of an emergency department in Ireland that was carried out by external consultants; in this case by two emergency doctors Dr Taj Hassan and Dr David Watson from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in the UK, and nurse consultants Garrett Martin and Siobhan Donald from the Royal College of Nursing in Belfast, according to the INMO.
The review was conducted in June and July 2015 and was due to be completed by November. Management received a draft report in December. The INMO insists that despite numerous requests a copy has not been furnished to its members in the ED.
“We believe this review has identified the changes that are required to improve the working environment, patient safety and service delivery at Galway University Hospital ED,” says Ms Treacy.
“This is critical information for the emergency department yet management continues to ‘fob us off’. While they have confirmed receipt of a draft copy of the review, they refuse to give it to the nurses who are partners in this WRC process. This is an appalling way to treat our members.
“The recommendations of this high level report are absolutely essential and will no doubt positively contribute to the department, particularly in view of the ongoing overcrowding and the recent confirmation by the Taoiseach that the ED is not ‘fit for purpose’”.
She says her union is calling on management to immediately release the details of this external review.
“Patients continue to suffer and nurses are finding it increasingly difficult to provide safe care in this environment. As partners in the WRC process we are entitled to have sight of the report so that we can all work together in making the changes required to improve the patient journey going forward.”
Meanwhile city councillor Catherine Connolly who is a member and former vice chairperson of the HSE West’s regional health forum, says she fully supports the INMO’s request that the report on the emergency department be made available to the nurses.
“It beggars belief that an independent review sought by the nurses and sanctioned under the Workplace Regulations Commission process has still not been made available to the nurses although hospital management was furnished with a draft copy last December.”
She said she understands that the external review was commissioned in order to examine the situation on the ground in the emergency department, including work practices for the purpose of identifying areas that needed improvement.
“Indeed it is further understood that the draft report has identified various changes that are required to improve the working environment but particularly patient safety. Given the purpose and content of the report it makes no sense not to make the report available to the nurses so that they can work with hospital management for the benefit of the patient. This is an emergency department which the Taoiseach of the country has said is not fit for purpose! This is not a way to work with nurses nor is it the best way to engender trust in the public health system which I very much support.
“It simply reinforces the belief that the HSE West/Saolta Group have something to hide and/or that management are incapable of learning from mistakes and/or the results of an independent report and working proactively with staff on the ground.”
Cllr Connolly says she has no hesitation is supporting the nurses call that the draft report be made available to them as a matter of urgency.
“Furthermore I have contacted the CEO of Saolta in this regard and if the matter is not resolved I will raise it at the next Regional Health Forum meeting in February.”