Almost 12,000 hospital patients on trolleys in May

High levels of burnout among staff

Deborah Condon

June 1, 2023

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  • Almost 12,000 people were left waiting on trolleys in hospitals nationwide last month, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.

    According to its latest Trolley Watch figures, 11,856 people were on trolleys in May, including 303 children.

    The worst affected hospitals last month were University Hospital Limerick (1,857), Cork University Hospital (1,310) and University Hospital Galway (896).

    The worst affected hospital in Dublin was Tallaght University Hospital (704), while the worst affected children’s hospital was Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin (148).

    INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, pointed out that the figures recorded in May were higher than those seen in January 2023 “when we saw the worst levels of daily hospital overcrowding since the INMO began counting trolleys”.

    “This type of overcrowding at the beginning of summer must be immediately addressed to prevent an even more chaotic winter. Nurses are working in a system that has normalised over 500 people a day on trolleys. They have had little to no reprieve from overcrowding.

    “Our members are reporting high levels of burnout and their intention to leave their current work area is higher than it has ever been,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha warned.

    She noted that at a recent meeting with the Emergency Department Taskforce, which the INMO co-chairs with the HSE, “we were provided with stark warnings from public health experts that we are facing into another difficult winter when it comes to RSV and influenza”.

    “Corrective action must be taken now to ease the pressure in our hospitals. We need to see a laser-like focus from government and the HSE to tackling the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals once and for all,” she said.

    Corrective measures suggested by the INMO include pre-arranged agreements with private acute hospitals to provide non-urgent elective surgery and the implementation of bespoke retention and recruitment initiatives to ensure appropriate staffing levels.

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