2018 has seen the worst November on record for hospital overcrowding, with 9,679 admitted patients forced to wait on trolleys and chairs for beds.
This is an 11% increase on November 2017 and more than twice (+107%) as bad as 2006, when records began.
Earlier this week, the count for 2018 crossed 100,000 for the first time ever, already making 2018 the worst-ever year for overcrowding.
University Hospital Limerick had over 1,071 patients on trolleys this month – the equivalent of Limerick’s total bed capacity twice over. This is the 18th month in a row that Limerick has had the most overcrowding.
Five hospitals saw over 500 patients on trolleys in November:
The union says that much of the overcrowding is down to understaffing, caused primarily by 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
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“Behind each number is a vulnerable patient suffering in poor conditions, with overworked staff pulling out all the stops to provide the best possible care.
"2018 is already the worst year on record for patients on trolleys and there are still several weeks to go. January and February are typically the worst months, so nurses and midwives will be looking to the new year with a sense of dread.
"But this isn't just a winter problem anymore, it's a year-round problem. The health service needs more beds. Extra beds require extra nurses, but the HSE simply can't hire enough on these wage levels."