Nearly 590 patients waiting for a hospital bed, nurses say

INMO says Limerick University Hospital is worst hit with 80 patients waiting for a bed

There are nearly 590 patients deemed to require admission to hospital waiting in emergency departments or on wards for a bed, nurses have said.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said the worst affected hospital was University Hospital Limerick where 80 patients were queueing for a bed.

The INMO said overall there were 587 admitted patients waiting for beds on Tuesday morning.

It said 430 were waiting in emergency departments while 157 were in wards elsewhere in a hospital waiting for a bed.


The INMO said there were 50 patients waiting for a bed at Cork University Hospital and 48 at University Hospital Galway.

Earlier this month Taoiseach Leo Varadkar apologised to patients and staff affected by hospital overcrowding when the numbers waiting for a bed reached 610.

The INMO said on Tuesday that there were 34 patients waiting for a bed at South Tipperary General Hospital, 34 at St Vincent's St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin and 30 at Tallaght University Hospital.

The INMO said there were four children on trolleys waiting for a bed at Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin and three at Temple St University Hospital.

The University of Limerick Hospitals Group on Tuesday urged the public “to consider all care options before attending the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick. It said it was “crucial that the emergency department be kept for emergencies only”.

It said the hospital was managing a high volume of patients that had arisen due to a busy two to three day period in the emergency department.

“We apologise to those patients who are experiencing lengthy waits for beds, and we would like to reassure them, and their families, that we are working to alleviate the situation. We are appropriately transferring patients to other hospitals in our group and are working with the MidWest Community Healthcare to access appropriate beds within the community.”

In a statement on Tuesday the HSE said: “Acute hospitals are continuing to see a year on year increase in the number of patients requiring treatment and care.

“By the end of August almost 907,000 patients had attended our Emergency Departments, 3 per cent more than last year with over 236,000 patients admitted to hospital for further treatment and care.”

“The HSE regrets that any patient should have to wait for admission from ED to a hospital ward. All patients admitted from ED remain under the care of our ED staff until they can transfer to the appropriate hospital ward.”

“The HSE also acknowledges and recognises the additional pressure this adds to the work load of all of our hard working staff involved in the provision of care to our patients.”

The HSE said it “acknowledged that the Irish health system has a gap between demand for services and capacity to meet patient’s needs”.

It added: “The HSE welcomes the commitment to increase investments in additional hospital capacity, for example, the new 60 bed unit in University Hospital Limerick, which together with the implementation of Sláintecare will improve the care our patients and the working environment of our staff.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent