Numbers on trolleys fall slightly in June, overcrowding ‘remains high’

More than 6,800 patients needing admission had to wait for a hospital bed last month

The number of people waiting on trolleys in hospitals fell in June compared with the same period last year, nurses have said. File photograph: iStock.

The number of people waiting on trolleys in hospitals fell in June compared with the same period last year, nurses have said. File photograph: iStock.

 

The number of people waiting on trolleys in hospitals fell by almost 4 per cent in June compared with the same period last year, nurses have said.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said although the reduction was welcome, overcrowding in Irish hospitals remained high.

It said there were 6,861 patients who required admission to a hospital who had to wait on trolleys or on wards in June compared with 7,124 in the same month last year, a reduction of 3.7 per cent.

The nurses’ trade union said the number of patients waiting for admission lastmonth was now 87 per cent higher than that recorded in 2006.

The INMO said the figures demonstrated it was now “very necessary to start the overdue dialogue with the HSE in relation to increasing capacity for the winter months”.

INMO deputy general secretary David Hughes said: “The figures show a slight reduction of 263 patients waiting for a bed in our acute hospitals in June 2018.

“The figure, however, is still extremely high, and there is little respite from the discomfort and indignity for patients and the stressful high-risk working environment for nurses in our emergency departments.

“While we welcome this minor reduction, we require urgent and effective dialogue to prepare for the coming winter. The obvious lack of bed capacity cannot be addressed unless the severe recruitment and retention crisis in nursing is tackled,” he said.

“ Modular buildings alone cannot deal with this crisis and nurses must be recruited to care for the patients. Nursing pay needs to be at the top of that agenda.”

The INMO figures show although the overall trolley figures fell by 4 per cent nationally, there were significant increases recorded in some areas in June.

The union said there were 883 patients on trolleys in Limerick University Hospital last month, a 38 per cent increase on June last year.

At Cork University Hospital the number of people on trolleys increased from 469 in June 2017 to 721in June 2018.

The figures, however, also show a significant reduction in the number of patients on trolleys at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin in June 2018 compared with the same period in previous years.

The INMO figures said there were 120 patients on trolleys in Beaumont in June compared with 280 in June 2017.