Hospitals facing worst overcrowding since onset of pandemic, nurses’ union says

INMO says 376 people waiting for hospital beds

The trolley crisis is ‘rearing its head again’, says the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. File photograph: iStock

The trolley crisis is ‘rearing its head again’, says the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. File photograph: iStock

 

The country’s hospitals are facing the worst overcrowding problems since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses have claimed.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said on Tuesday there were 376 patients who were deemed to require admission to a hospital, waiting for a bed. It said the trolley crisis was “rearing its head again”.

The INMO said the number of patients waiting for admission to a bed on Tuesday was the highest figure since March 5th, 2020.

The union said the hospitals worst affected by overcrowding on Tuesday included:

– University Hospital Limerick: 75 patients waiting for a bed

– Letterkenny University Hospital: 31

– Cork University Hospital: 30

– Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar: 24

– South Tipperary General Hospital: 23

The INMO said that “redeployment of staff was seeing day services closed or scaled back, which is putting extra pressure on emergency departments”.

It said infection control and social distancing is compromised when patients are on trolleys in corridors.

“The INMO is calling for urgent national intervention in University Hospital Limerick in particular, along with a strategy to reduce the volume of staff being redeployed for vaccinations”, it said.

The union called for measures to allow nursing and midwifery students to become paid vaccinators.

INMO president Karen McGowan said: “Although the levels of Covid are reducing, the long-standing trolley crisis is again rearing its head. Our members are seriously concerned that we will swing from the Covid crisis back into an overcrowding crisis. They need to know that the HSE will not tolerate overcrowding and ensure that safe staffing levels are implemented.”