12,000+ patients on trolleys in November

Children's hospitals under major pressure

Deborah Condon

November 30, 2022

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  • Over 12,600 people have been left waiting on trolleys in hospitals nationwide during the month of November, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.

    According to its latest Trolley Watch figures, 12,624 people were left on trolleys in November, including 563 children. This marks a 52% increase when compared to the same period in 2021.

    The worst affected hospitals were University Hospital Limerick (1,596 patients on trolleys), Cork University Hospital (1,334) and Letterkenny University Hospital (1,108).

    The worst affected hospital in Dublin was St Vincent’s University Hospital (685), while the worst affected children’s hospital was Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin (233).

    INMO general secratry, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, described it as “another chaotic month in Irish hospitals” and she expressed particular concern about the country’s children’s hospitals.

    “The children’s hospitals are experiencing severe staffing shortages with up to 45% staffing deficits in some sites and long-standing vacancies in nurse manager roles. This is reflected in very high numbers of children waiting on trolleys, accompanied by relatives in very cramped and overcrowded spaces. It is now commonplace that up to 40 sick children a day have to wait for a bed,” she noted.

    She said this is a dangerous situation for both patients and staff and “is simply no way to treat sick children who are admitted to hospital”.

    “It also places a further burden on families who have to experience long waits while accompanying a sick child, potentially overnight. It is now absolutely vital that management and the HSE focus on recruitment, retention, accommodation and capacity at these sites as a matter of urgency so we can put an end to the disgraceful scenes we’re currently seeing in children’s hospitals,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha insisted.

    She also warned of major overcrowding problems in the Midwest and the West.

    “Our members expect the HSE and the government to treat this issue as the emergency it is and meet with the INMO to address it. We do not want to be put in a position where care is compromised due to government and HSE inaction,” she added.

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