Responding to spiralling increases in patients on trolleys, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called on the Oireachtas to investigate hospital overcrowding.
This comes as INMO figures show that 12,859 patients have been on trolleys so far this year with over 4,224 patients on trolleys in the first ten days of February.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“The INMO is today calling for the Oireachtas Health Committee to urgently investigate out of control hospital overcrowding. After months of a hands-off approach from the HSE, HIQA and the Minister for Health when it comes to dealing with hospital overcrowding, it is time for serious political intervention from members of the Oireachtas.
“By allowing hospital overcrowding to continue at this level, we are slowly creeping back to the bad habits that plagued our health service pre-pandemic.
“We are not even two weeks into the month of February and the number of patients on trolleys has already surpassed the February total for 2021. Since the INMO first sounded the alarm on the creeping return of hospital overcrowding in July 2021, we have been very discouraged by the response by the arms of the State with the Minister for Health, the Health Service Executive and the Health Information and Quality Authority all reluctant to take action when we sought intervention.
“The INMO is of the belief that we now need to see political intervention to solve this endemic. We have requested that the Health Committee urgently report on this issue and investigate why this out-of-control overcrowding is being allowed to continue in our hospitals and make recommendations to the Minister for Health and the Houses of the Oireachtas.
“This issue is not just of concern to Irish nurses and midwives but people who are very afraid to fall ill because they do not want to face excessive overcrowding in their local hospital. This is no longer an issue that the arms of the State can ignore.”
INMO President, Karen McGowan said:
“This issue is now an endemic within our health service. While many hospitals regularly make the headlines for their overcrowding levels such as University Hospital Limerick, Letterkenny University Hospital and Cork University Hospital, this is a problem in every hospital across the country. It is not good enough that overcrowding is still an acceptable feature of our health service, especially when COVID is still very much circulating in our hospitals posing real risk of cross infection. Nothing substantial has been done to alleviate the pressure that our members are under.”