The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said there is no room for compromise on protective equipment for frontline healthcare staff battling with the Covid-19 outbreak.
The IMNO has repeatedly raised concern over the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers with the HSE in recent days and said it will not accept any situation where staff are placed at risk.
The HSE has advised the IMNO that the government has secured additional supply domestically and internationally, with large shipments expected from China by the end of the week, and is also establishing a national procurement office specific to PPE.
Speaking on RTE Radio 1 on Tuesday the General Secretary of the IMNO, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said there was no room for compromise on protective equipment and that frontline staff dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak must be protected.
“There are guidelines from the WHO that tell us when all of the protective gear must be worn and what we’re saying to the HSE is that they cannot compromise on that,” she told Drivetime’s Mary Wilson.
Ms Ni Sheaghdha said there were clear difficulties with the supply of protective kit, including the supply of goggles and visors.
“Right now our members are saying it’s (the supply of PPE) really tight.
"We’re having calls with the HSE on a daily basis and they’re expecting that supplies will be increased by Sunday night or Monday with the reported influx from the Chinese market,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha said.
“We have set up a system whereby when our members ring us we can immediately react. We can get that information to each hospital site, each community care site, and ensure that the supplies that are available are available to the people who need it,” she added.
The IMNO General Secretary said it was essential to source new suppliers of critical protective equipment and ensure that staff across all services, from acute to community to older people’s services, have the required PPE.
“We’re saying that we need to look to our own domestic market, look to our private hospitals, look elsewhere to find supplies, to make sure supplies are available on the frontline where they are needed,“ she said.
“We have to make sure that all services get the supplies they need. That includes community services, care of the older person services, acute hospitals.
"So there is a big job of work to be done once the supplies arrive,” she added.