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'Winter trolley numbers in May': INMO slam hospital wait times as almost 12,000 without beds

This month’s figures show the worst level of hospital overcrowding seen since the INMO began counting trolleys.

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on the HSE to take “immediate corrective measures” to deal with hospital overcrowding after the INMO revealed that 11,856 people were without hospital beds this month.

This month’s figures show the worst level of hospital overcrowding since the INMO began counting trolleys, and beat the previous peak recorded this January.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:

“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.”

University Hospital Limerick had 1,857 patients on trolleys, followed by Cork University Hospital with 1,310 patients and University Hospital Galway with 896 patients.

Sligo University Hospital had the 4th highest number of patients on trolleys with 751, followed by Tallaght University Hospital with 704 patients.

These five most overcrowded hospitals make up almost half of the total number of patients left without beds.

May’s trolley count included 309 children, more than triple the number of under-16s who were on trolleys in May of last year.

The HSE have been contacted for comment.

Ní Sheaghda continued:

“At yesterday’s meeting of 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.

“The corrective measures we seek are proper planning of the cancellation of non-urgent elective surgery in line with public health projections; pre-arranged agreements with private acute hospitals to provide non-urgent elective surgery; and bespoke retention and recruitment initiatives to be implemented now to ensure staffing for additional capacity that is definitely going to be needed.”

The total number of people on trolleys this month is 37% higher than it was last May.

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