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The hospital trolley problem is getting better, slowly

There’s a marked difference between Dublin and the rest of the country.

Cork University Hospital was second highest in the list of hospitals with people on trolleys last month.
Cork University Hospital was second highest in the list of hospitals with people on trolleys last month.

THERE’S BEEN A significant reduction in the number of patients on trolleys in Dublin hospitals but overcrowding continues to get worse outside the capital.

August figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show that people on trolleys last month were down nationally compared to last year.

In Dublin , there were 1,397 people on trolleys in hospitals last month. That’s a 41% reduction on the same month in 2015 when there were 2,364 people on trolleys.

On a monthly basis the numbers were also down. In July, there were 1,824 people on trolleys in Dublin resulting in a 23% monthly reduction.

But hospitals outside of Dublin continue to see worsening overcrowding.

In August there were 4,739 people on trolleys, a 14% increase on the 4,154 people on trolleys in the same month last year.

Compared to July though things have improved. Overcrowding has eased slightly outside of Dublin with a 4% reduction in the number of people on trolleys.

In terms of the most overcrowded wards, the hospitals with the greatest number of people on trolleys were:

  • University Hospital Limerick – 610
  • Cork University Hospital – 473
  • South Tipperary General Hospital – 470
  • University Hospital Galway – 400
  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda – 391

Speaking about the figures, the INMO says that the continued issue of overcrowding is coming at a time when hospitals, “continue to report an inability, despite repeated efforts, to recruit and retain nursing staff.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris is to attend a meeting of the taskforce set up to ease overcrowding in emergency departments later today.

Read: Patients left lying on trolleys while 40-bed unit remains vacant at nearby hospital >

Read: There’s to be a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to patients waiting in emergency departments >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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