Worst-ever October for hospital overcrowding
2018 has seen the worst October on record for hospital overcrowding, with 9,055 admitted patients forced to wait on trolleys and chairs for beds. See report here.
This is over twice (+124%) as bad as when the INMO Trolley Watch began in 2006.
University Hospital Limerick had over 1,045 patients on trolleys – the highest in the country. This is the equivalent of Limerick’s total bed capacity twice over.
Five hospitals saw over 500 patients on trolleys this month:
The INMO also expressed concern at overcrowding in smaller hospitals. South Tipperary General Hospital, for example, had 474 patients waiting on trolleys over the month – nearly three times the hospital’s total bed capacity.
The union says that much of the overcrowding is down to understaffing, caused primarily by unattractively low pay levels in Irish nursing and midwifery. According to the HSE census, as of September 2018, Ireland’s health service has 227 fewer staff nurses than December 2017
The INMO will be releasing figures in the coming days which measure understaffing at key hospitals across Ireland.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“Over 9,000 patients forced to wait on trolleys and it’s not even peak winter season. Figures like these do not adequately express the hardship endured by patients who find themselves in these circumstances. The negative health impacts of this overcrowding are known, yet this is not addressed as a national priority.
“Our current health service simply does not have the capacity to cope. The government accept that we need additional beds, but we do not have a plan to tackle this daily problem. Opening extra beds requires extra nurses, but low pay means there is no immediate prospect of recruiting additional nurses or retaining current ones.”

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