Hospital overcrowding in November worst on record, nurses claim

Number of patients who have waited on trolleys for a bed exceeded 100,000 this year

The INMO, which has been counting the number of admitted patients without a bed since 2004. Photograph: iStock

The INMO, which has been counting the number of admitted patients without a bed since 2004. Photograph: iStock

 

Hospital overcrowding in November was the worst on record, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The union said 9,679 patients were waiting on trolleys and chairs for admission to a hospital bed and said this was an 11 per cent increase compared to November 2017.

The INMO said University Hospital Limerick had over 1,071 patients on trolleys waiting for admission in November and last month was the 18th in a row when the hospital had the highest overcrowding.

The INMO said five hospitals, Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Galway, Letterkenny University Hospital, Tallaght University Hospital and the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore had more than 500 patients on trolleys last month.

The union claimed part of the overcrowding was as a result of understaffing, which it blamed on low pay levels.

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said this year was already the worst year on record for patients on trolleys.

She said typically January and February are the worst months and claimed nurses and midwives “will be looking to the New Year with a sense of dread”.

She said overcrowding was no longer a winter problem but was now 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”.

The number of patients who have waited on trolleys or in wards for a hospital bed has exceeded 100,000 this year, for the first time since records began.

With one month left in the year, 2018 is the worst year ever for hospital overcrowding, according to the INMO.