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Trolley Watch

Total number of patients without hospital beds soars to 100,000

This is only the second time that the annual figures have surpassed 100,000.

ANALYSIS BY THE INMO indicates that 100,457 patients have gone without beds in Irish hospitals in 2019 so far.

This is only the second time that annual figures have ever passed 100,000, and the milestone was reached faster this time round; in 2018 it took until 28 November.

The five worst affected hospitals so far this year are:

  • University Hospital Limerick: 11,901
  • Cork University Hospital: 9,496
  • University Hospital Galway: 6,870
  • South Tipperary General Hospital: 6,040
  • University Hospital Waterford: 5,522.

593 admitted patients were waiting for beds this morning alone, according to today’s Trolley Watch (every morning at 8am, INMO members count how many patients are waiting on trolleys in emergency departments and elsewhere in the hospital).

Of the 593, 401 are waiting in the emergency department, while 192 are in wards elsewhere in the hospital.

University Hospital Limerick had 65 people on trolleys, Cork University Hospital had 46, and South Tipperary General Hospital had 42.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:

The Irish health service continues to break records in the worst possible way. This simply does not happen in other countries. The only acceptable number for patients on trolleys is zero.
Behind each number is a vulnerable patient trapped in undignified and unsafe conditions, often on a corridor.

She said that nurses were working hard, but the healthcare system doesn’t have sufficient capacity to cope.

“It’s simply a question of capacity and staffing. The HSE’s recruitment freeze simply has to go: we need an infusion of qualified, frontline staff to stabilise the health service. Without it, this problem will rapidly accelerate as we move into winter.”

There is an effective freeze on certain positions within the HSE, which is resulting in candidates being told that they were successful in their application for the job, but not provided with contracts and start dates.

This is to do with budget limitations, with hospitals implementing an effective freeze on letting new hires begin in an effort to control costs. 

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