Staffing levels within the health service "have been in freefall since Christmas" due to COVID-19, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned.
According to the INMO, rosters have been "decimated" as a result of COVID-related absences and a lack of childcare for frontline health staff.
There are now over 1,000 patients with confirmed COVID in hospitals nationawide, while throughout the pandemic, one in 20 cases has involved nurses or midwives.
"The staffing situation has reached dire levels in many hospitals. I am getting constant reports from colleagues across the country speaking of wards closing, rosters unfilled, and services under pressure and unmanageable workloads. The Government does not seem to understand the severe staffing pressures happening at the moment," commented nurse and INMO president, Karen McGowan.
The INMO's Executive Council is holding an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the issue and receive updates from across the country.
According to the INMO's general secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, nurses and midwives "are highly skilled and totally dedicated, but they are also utterly exhausted".
"Immediate supports must be provided to them," she added.
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