Over 100,000 patients on trolleys so far this year – INMO

Irish Nurses and Midwives Report revealed that over 100,000 patients have been left waiting on trolleys in Irish hospitals so far this year.

This is the earliest that such a high number of admitted patients without beds has ever been recorded, according to the INMO.

Since the beginning of the summer, the organisation has issued warnings about the unprecedented overcrowding in Irish hospitals.

Today, it was reported that 100,195 patients, more than 1,900 of whom were children, had been left waiting on trolleys during this year.

Over 15,000 patients were left without a bed at University Hospital Limerick, the hospital that was hardest hit this year.

The university hospitals in Cork, Sligo, Dublin’s St. Vincent’s University Hospital, and Letterkenny were all seriously affected.

The INMO has demanded a multifaceted strategy to address the issue, including the cancellation of non-urgent elective care in public hospitals in favour of using private hospitals for such work.

It also wants to see the implementation of retention strategies, such as the provision of accommodation for essential employees like nurses and midwives, especially in areas where rent is a problem.

The organisation’s General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said it is “not good enough” that nurses and the patients they are trying to provide safe care to are “expected to accept this as normal”.

“Senior figures in the health service have warned the Irish public that waiting over 24 hours to be admitted to hospital is the new normal. In no other country would this level of indignity be accepted,” she said.

“Behind our trolley figures that we publish everyday are vulnerable patients trapped in undignified and unsafe conditions. Our members are working incredibly hard, it is clear that our public health service can no longer provide both emergency care and elective care.”

Ms. Ní Sheaghdha said that while safe staffing has been prioritised in the winter plan, it is not being met in many hospitals.

She described bed capacity announcements as “a meaningless endeavour if you do not have the staff” to ensure the beds can be opened safely.

“The Department of Health and the Health Service Executive cannot afford to be passive. Between overcrowding and retention of nurses, the situation is worsening every day,” Ms. Ní Sheaghdha said.

“Every possible measure that can be taken in the coming days and weeks must be taken.”

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