The pressure on nurses must be addressed
I'm sure I wasn't alone this week in my shock to learn that so far this year, 82,000 people were on trolleys in emergency departments.
We all hear the stories of people admitted to hospitals which simply don't have a bed for them, and so they end up in a corridor, often with no idea when they will be properly accommodated.
However, I never dreamed that the figures were this high.
Healthcare experts have claimed that we should be out on the streets protesting about the situation which shows no sign of improvement.
Meanwhile, medical staff and the nurses on the frontline in particular are being pushed to the brink every day of their working lives.
People talk about a 'calling' in life and truly being a nurse is a vocation. These people who are caring for people during the most vulnerable and often terrifying time of their lives are under such pressure it is difficult to see how they can sustain such a way of life without burning out.
The overcrowding is endless, the demands of the job never ease and year after year there are promises that it will be better, but with a figure of 82,000 people on trolleys, long before the year is even over - it is clear that change and improvement will take a generation.
It is so frustrating that the entire system is creaking under the pressure. We have some of the best healthcare professionals in the world working in our hospitals and yet they are almost being turned off the job they trained so hard to do, because it is impacting on them in such a negative way.
One nurse told his story this week of how he had to transfer to a different role because his family life was suffering so much as a result of his career.
He said that deep down he knew that there would not be any meaningful change.
Every job has its pressures and stresses but where many others can take a step back or share the workload, nurses cannot tell a sick patient that they can't do something for them, or decide that the demands being made of them are unfair -as it is the patients they have pledged to care for who will ultimately suffer. Apparently we have fewer beds in the Irish hospital system than we did in 1980, so when that it coupled with a population rise of over 30 per cent, there is no way that things can continue the way they are and have patients properly treated.