679 patients are waiting without beds in Ireland’s hospitals today – the highest daily figure in 2019 so far, and the second-highest ever recorded.
The INMO’s daily trolley watch records the numbers of admitted patients who cared on trolleys and chairs, due to a shortage of hospital beds. The figures include both emergency departments and wards elsewhere in the hospital.
The worst-affected hospitals include:
- University Hospital Limerick: 63
- University Hospital Cork: 60
- Letterkenny University Hospital: 47
- South Tipperary General Hospital: 40
- Sligo University Hospital: 39
- University Hospital Waterford: 39
A full breakdown of figures is available here.
The INMO highlighted South Tipperary General as a hospital in crisis. Despite being one of the country’s smaller hospitals, it has more patients on trolleys than some of the largest.
The union points to a lack of capacity and staff in the public health service as the key driver behind the figures. The HSE has implemented a “go slow” recruitment freeze, which sees well over a thousand frontline posts unfilled. The INMO has called for this freeze to be lifted.
UCC’s Prof. Jonathan Drennan identified a need for at least 180 extra emergency department nursing posts across Ireland to care for admitted patients, in a report commissioned by the HSE and Department of Health. However there was no provision made in the recent budget for the roles.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“This is simply obscene. Winter has not even started, and Irish hospitals are overwhelmed. Our members are faced with an inhumane working environment, while patients are put at ever-increasing risk.
“50,000 people marched to support nurses and midwives during the strike. They did so for an end to short staffing and a better health service. The government’s delay in implementing the strike settlement, along with the recruitment freeze, has driven more nurses and midwives out of the public health service.
“It’s time for extra emergency staffing, an end to the recruitment ban, and for hospitals to curtail services until safe patient and staff levels are reached.”