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Trolley/Ward Watch Figures Reveal Record Levels
Press Release 12.04.17

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

INMO Analysis Of March Trolley/Ward Watch Figures Reveal Record Levels For That Month

-    9,459 patients on trolleys during March 2017   

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) carried out an analysis of its Trolley/Ward Watch figures, for the months of March 2006-2017, and found that 2017 showed the highest ever figure for that month.  9,459 patients, admitted for in-patient care, found themselves on trolleys this March.

While the overall figure was up by 1% the analysis showed that hospitals in the Eastern area, down 29%, fared better than those in the country which were up by 16%. However, figures in St James’s Hospital, Dublin increased significantly from 162 in 2016 to 336 in 2017 – up 107%.

Many country hospitals are still struggling, significantly, with overcrowding, the highest figures recorded as follows:

•    Cork University Hospital – 716
•    University Hospital, Limerick – 699
•    University Hospital Galway – 638
•    MRH, Tullamore – 537
•    South Tipp General Hospital – 496

The Organisation welcomed the Winter Initiative Plan announced by the Minister for Health in September 2016 which had an allocation of an additional funding of €40 million and a maximum target of 236 for the number of patients on trolleys each morning.  However the figures were 82% over the target in March.  It is, therefore, clear that the measures taken, to date, are not enough and more must be done.

Speaking today, INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said:

“The figures for March are very disappointing. While progress has been made in a number of hospitals, severe overcrowding is still being experienced in many hospitals around the country. The Winter Initiative Plan included extra acute beds, transitional care beds and step down beds as well as additional homecare packages and the expansion of community intervention teams.

Unfortunately, as outlined by the INMO at the time, the plan, by failing to address the difficulties in recruiting and retaining nursing staff, ran the risk of falling short, in terms of implementation. Additional services, either in terms of acute beds, step-down beds and/or community intervention teams are dependent on there being additional nursing staff. It remains the stark reality that without nurses and midwives we cannot meet current demand let alone in the future.  

The recent deal, accepted by members, on staffing/recruitment/retention represents just the first step, in a three year programme, which must see nurse/midwife employment levels increase to over 40,000 from its current level of 35,600.  These proposals now fall to be implemented, overseen by a joint high level group, who must ensure nationwide roll out immediately.”

Mr Doran concluded:
“It is imperative that patients and staff will see an improvement in overcrowding levels, in our analysis, of April figures.”  

The crisis of overcrowding, in both Emergency Departments and in-patient wards, will be discussed at the INMO’s forthcoming Annual Delegate Conference in Wexford on May 3-5. 



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