97 beds closed in the Louth Hospital

NINETY-SEVEN beds were closed in Louth County Hospital as of January 5, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

NINETY-SEVEN beds were closed in Louth County Hospital as of January 5, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

The INMO identified the bed closures in the Dundalk hospital, following a nationwide survey.

Overall, the INMO identified 1,672 closed beds in hospitals across the country, despite "severe overcrowing" in emergency departments.

According to the INMO, the survey confirms that beds have been closed, primarily due to budget cutbacks and staffing shortages, in all regions, despite the pressure on the health system overall.

The INMO has called for these closed beds to be reopened immediately to facilitate dealing with the current overcrowding crisis.

"These closed beds, which are both acute and continuing care beds, must be reopened to ease the current crisis and to give patients back their dignity," said INMO General Secretary Liam Doran.

"In addition, nursing and other support staff must be employed so that the care required for these patients can be provided in a safe and caring environment.

"With this available resource there is no excuse for the current indignity being suffered by patients and the excessive workloads, in a most unsuitable environment, being carried by frontline staff."