Over 9,000 patients were left waiting on hospital trolleys nationwide last month – a significant increase when compared to July 2021, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.
According to its latest trolley watch figures, a total of 9,191 patients were left without a hospital bed in July – a 52% increase when compared to July 2021 and a 166% increase when compared to July 2006 when the INMO starting counting trolley figures.
The worst affected hospitals last month were University Hospital Limerick (1,268), Cork University Hospital (1,000) and University Hospital Galway (998).
The worst affected hospital in Dublin was St Vincent’s University Hospital (692) while the worst affected children’s hospital was Temple Street Children’s University Hospital (53).
The level of hospital overcrowding that has occurred throughout the summer is a cause of “serious concern”, according to the INMO’s director of professional services, Tony Fitzpatrick.
He noted that since the beginning of May, almost 28,000 patients in Irish hospitals have been left without a bed.
“Unless we see a hospital-by-hospital plan to tackle overcrowding, we are in for a very bleak winter in Irish hospitals, which will see nurses and patients in extremely unsafe circumstances,” he said.
He warned of the dangers of a Covid and flu “twindemic” in Irish hospitals this winter if this issue is not tackled urgently and he insisted that vaccinations for both Covid and flu should be offered to healthcare workers “as soon as possible”.
“Nurses and other healthcare staff cannot be expected to sustain this type of pressure right into the winter. If the Government and HSE are serious about retaining those who already work in the health service, meaningful action must be taken to ensure safe care conditions for both patients and staff. No nurse wants to have to care for patients in sub-optimal conditions,” Mr Fitzpatrick added.