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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020
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Overcrowding in Cork hospitals leads to cancellation of some surgeries

The overcrowding has been made worse by flu season, according to the HSE.

Cork University Hospital is one of the places impacted by overcrowding.
Cork University Hospital is one of the places impacted by overcrowding.
Image: Google Street View

SOME SURGERIES HAVE been cancelled at two of Cork’s main hospitals in a bid to tackle overcrowding. 

High flu levels have already caused issues across the country, with visits restricted in some Dublin and Cork hospitals. 

The current flu season, which arrived three to four weeks early this year, has led to the death of 22 people as of Friday, 17 of those aged 65 years and older.

In a joint statement last night, the HSE and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Union (INMO) said elective surgery had been cancelled in response to overcrowding, which has been worsened by the high number of flu admissions in Cork hospitals. 

The measure applies to South/South West Hospital Group institutions Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital. 

Non-emergency admissions have also been stopped while the HSE tries to increase bed numbers with the help of both the public and private sector. 

After talks yesterday between the INMO and the HSE, the two sides agreed on the measures to tackle overcrowding. 

They also agreed that recruitment will begin immediately in all nursing posts in Cork that have been approved. 

On Friday, Mercy University Hospital announced that it would be closing to patients in response to the high number of patients with flu. 

Staff shortages

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland programme this morning, INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha blamed the HSE for a shortage of staff nurses in Irish hospitals. 

This, she said, “translates into us being unable to open beds because you don’t have nurses in posts”. 

“We have had a deliberate slowdown in recruitment from the HSE,” she said. 

While Ni Sheaghdha said that patients in need of care are still being treated, she warned that overcrowding is causing a dangerous situation. 

“When overcrowding happens, cross-infection is a high risk,” she said. 

Another meeting between the HSE and the INMO is set to take place on 8 January. 

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