SIPTU has called on the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to immediately inspect hospitals around the country where patient and staff safety is threatened by severe overcrowding. SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “SIPTU members are very concerned that there is no plan to address the worrying trend that has been developing since September of patient safety, dignity and care being threatened by severe overcrowding”. He added that due to the HSE being unable to confirm that the identified hospitals are safe for both patients and staff the HIQA must investigate urgently. "Our members are asking why, despite this growing national emergency in our hospitals, the statutory body tasked with ensuring levels of patient safety are maintained, HIQA, has not begun inspecting these facilities. These hospitals are clearly overrun and understaffed. Our members are calling on HIQA to put the public’s mind at ease by investigating whether or not these hospitals are safe for patients and staff. "SIPTU members are astonished that this crisis has been allowed to get to this stage. Let’s be very clear we are not here because of a winter vomiting bug or a flu epidemic. We are here because if you strip away 2000 hospital beds through cuts, if you don’t recruit and retain nurses, health care assistants and emergency personal, you end up with the kind of dysfunctional health service that our members are working in and patients are being treated in.”