Hospital trolley numbers surge as strike threat looms

Concern over rise in overcrowding as 541 patients waiting for admission

The highest trolley figures on Tuesday were in Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Galway, where 48 patients apiece were waiting for admission.

The highest trolley figures on Tuesday were in Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Galway, where 48 patients apiece were waiting for admission.

 

There are 541 patients waiting on trolleys or in wards for admission to hospital today, one of the highest levels seen this year.

The figures includes 426 patients who are on trolleys in emergency departments and a further 115 who are waiting in wards for admission to hospital, according to the daily TrolleyWatch figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The numbers are considerably higher than on the same day last year and are also higher than last week. This is in spite of a number of funded initiatives by the Government during the year which are designed to reduce overcrowding in emergency departments.

There is mounting concern within the health service about the ability of the system to keep trolley numbers down over the winter period, particularly when they spike traditionally in the immediate aftermath of Christmas.

The situation could be further exacerbated if INMO members vote for industrial action; the result of a ballot of the union’s 40,000 members is expected later this week. Nurses are looking for extra money they say will encourage young nurses to join the public system and for existing staff to stay rather than working in private hospitals or emigrating.

The highest trolley figures on Tuesday were in Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Galway, where 48 patients apiece were waiting for admission. There were over 30 patients waiting in St Vinecent’s Hospital in Dublin, South Tipperary hospital in Clonmel, Waterford University Hospital and University Hospital Limerick.

INMO members in Castlebar and Cavan are staging lunchtime protests today over staffing issues.