There are 71 patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick today AND 70 IN University Hospital Galway. Shutterstock
Under Pressure

University Hospital Galway warn of 'severe' overcrowding a week after CMO alerted Donnelly

“This level of overcrowding in Galway and across the country in the middle of July is not normal,” the INMO said.

A LETTER FROM the interim Chief Medical Officer to the Minister for Health last week stated that the hospital system is “under considerable pressure” and Covid-19 cases could disrupt hospital capacity for scheduled and unscheduled care.

Professor Breda Smyth, who holds the position until it can be filled on a permanent basis, warned Minister Stephen Donelly in a letter from 8 July that Covid-19 cases were increasing and significantly crowding hospitals.

On 8 July there were 905 Covid-19 cases in hospital, up from from 167 on 28 May and the daily average number of cases in hospital also continued to increase.

“The COVID-19 burden on acute hospital care has increased considerably over recent weeks,” Professor Smyth’s weekly report read.

“If the recent rising trend in hospitalised cases continues, we are likely to see increased pressure on the hospital system over the coming weeks. This will further reduce hospital capacity to admit patients for scheduled and unscheduled care.”

Today, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) called for elective procedures to be rescheduled at University Hospital Galway due to the overcrowding issues and Covid-19 infections warned of by the CMO last week.

70 patients are without a bed in the hospital, the highest level of overcrowding in GUH since 2019.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Anne Burke said:

“Nurses and midwives in Galway University Hospital are under severe pressure due to short staffing and COVID infection levels.”

“As well as high levels of overcrowding in the hospital, yesterday 48 patients in the hospital were COVID positive.”

According to the CMO’s letter, on average there were 136 new Covid-19 hospitalisations per day observed in the seven days to 8 July.

There were 25 new acute hospital outbreaks reported resulting in 199 hospital acquired Covid-19 infections in the week ending 26 June, compared to 195 in the week ending 19 June.

“This level of overcrowding in Galway and indeed across the country in the middle of July is not normal and should not be treated as such. Hospital management and the HSE need to take short, medium and long-term action,” Burke continued. 

Today there are 71 patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick and 45 patients on trolleys in the emergency department of University Hospital Cork, according to INMO data.

A total of 14,374 confirmed PCR cases were reported in the 7 days to 6 July and the 14-day incidence rate (PCR) per 100,000 population was 587 at the time.

This was an increase of 17% from the previous week’s 495 cases per 100,000.

However the CMO noted that incidence rates are likely to be underestimates.

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