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122,879 go without hospital beds in ’23 – more focus on patient and staff safety needed in ‘24
Press release 01.01.2024

122,879 patients, including 3,494 children, were admitted to hospital without a bed in 2023 according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation TrolleyWatch.


INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said:


“2023 was another difficult year for our members across the country. Irish nurses and midwives are working in hospitals that are in a near constant state of overcrowding coupled with short staffing. There is an increased demand for services due to a growing and ageing population. While services have expanded, which is to be welcomed, the staffing levels are not matching the growing demand on service provision.

"The INMO met with the HSE and the Department of Health on two occasions in the lead-up to the Christmas break. Recognising the anticipated surge in influenza, COVID, and RSV infections in January, we strongly urged them to:

  1. Grant an exemption for critical front-line staff from the recruitment freeze. Now is the time to keep and encourage staff to work in our public health service. With a rising turnover rate, we are tirelessly working to stem the tide of unsafe nurse staffing—an imposition of a moratorium on frontline staff is an obvious own goal.
  2. Utilise all accessible capacity in private hospitals in order to boost capacity.
  3. Postpone all non-urgent elective care until February to redirect resources and prioritise critical needs.
  4. Implement more robust infection control measures across all hospitals to ensure a safer environment for both patients and healthcare professionals.
  5. Issue stronger public health advice to the public


“Over eleven nurses and midwives were assaulted every day in Irish hospitals. Another unwelcome spike in assaults against staff and particularly nurses and midwives must be tackled in 2024. After significant lobbying by the INMO, we are optimistic that a new division to be established in the Health and Safety Authority will contribute to forcing employers to take the health and safety and conditions in which nurses and midwives and other health care workers more seriously. The focus must be on preventing assaults as opposed to dealing with them after the fact.


“The HSE’s focus for 2024 must be to make the provision of health care safer for those who work in our public health system and for the patients they serve.”



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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie