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Dublin: 18°C Sunday 14 August 2022

Ireland's hospitals are more overcrowded than at any point since pandemic began, INMO warns

376 admitted patients went without beds across Ireland this morning.

Image: Shutterstock

IRELAND’S HOSPITALS ARE more overcrowded than at any point over the last year, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned. 

The INMO said 376 admitted patients went without beds across Ireland this morning, the highest figure since 5 March 2020. 

The worst-hit hospitals include: 

  • University Hospital Limerick – 75
  • Letterkenny University Hospital – 31
  • Cork University Hospital – 30
  • Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar – 24
  • South Tipperary General Hospital – 23

The union warned that redeployment of staff was seeing day services closed or scaled back, which it claims is putting extra pressure on emergency departments. 

The INMO is calling for urgent national intervention in University Hospital Limerick in particular, along with a strategy to reduce the volume of staff being redeployed for vaccinations. 

The union has advised allowing nursing and midwifery students to become paid vaccinators. 

“Although the levels of Covid are reducing, the long-standing trolley crisis is again rearing its head,” INMO president Karen McGowan said. 

“They need to know that the HSE will not tolerate overcrowding and ensure that safe staffing levels are implemented,” McGowan said. 

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INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “We have kept trolley figures suppressed for much of the pandemic, but we are slipping back into old habits. The HSE cannot allow trolley figures to rise and rise. 

“Overcrowding is simply unsafe for patients – especially during a pandemic. It is placing intolerable pressure on an exhausted workforce who are now working to provide mass vaccinations in addition to a Covid and non-Covid healthcare service.”

NÍ Sheaghdha has called on the HSE and Hiqa to “rapidly intervene” in the worst-hit sites.

“Covid could be a turning point for the Irish healthcare system. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past,” she said. 

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