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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 21 August, 2019
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There has actually been a slight drop in people on hospital trolleys this year

While the numbers on trolleys is down 1% this year, figures for November were described as “particularly alarming”.

Image: Photocall Ireland

THE LATEST FIGURES from the trolley watch survey in Irish hospitals has seen the highest number recorded for November since records began.

However, according to the survey from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), there has been a small improvement on the number of people on hospital trolleys for the year so far.

The head of the INMO has called the figures “hugely disappointing”, and warned that infection control and a growing crisis in nurse recruitment would exacerbate the problem further.

In November, 9,306 patients were admitted on trolleys, which was 26% higher than the same month last year. This figure was almost double the amount recorded in 2006, when only 4,671 patients were on trolleys.

For the year to date, there was a decrease of 1% in the number of patients on trolleys compared to 2015, from 86,864 in 2015 to 85,731 this year.

Dublin hospitals fared well in the survey, with the patients on trolleys in Connolly Hospital down 48%, St James’s down 33% and Beaumont down 26% for the year to date.

Some regional hospitals fared worse, with patient trolley numbers up 162% in South Tipperary General Hospital and MRH Tullamore up 75% this year.

inmo trolley figures Trolley figures for year to date from 2006-2016 Source: INMO

For the month of November, the number of patients on trolleys in South Tipperary General went from 193 last year to 680 this year, a rise of 252%.

In Mercy University Hospital, Cork, this number went from 141 in November last year, to 424 this year.

INMO trolley monthly figures Figures for number of people on trolleys in November, from 2006-2016 Source: INMO

According to the INMO, the sharp rise in people on trolleys this November may have come as a result of bed closures, due to infection control issues.

They also point to “grossly understaffed” emergency departments and in-patient wards, as further exacerbating the situation.

INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said:

These figures are hugely disappointing, if not surprising, and confirm yet again, our health service cannot cope with the demands being placed upon it

“The figures for November are particularly alarming as we enter the peak winter period with the inevitable increased demand that takes place every year over the next three to four months.

“The winter initiative, with its €40m ear-marked funding, is obviously necessary but further measures, with resources, are needed arising from this latest trolley watch analysis.”

Read: The hospital trolley problem is getting better, slowly

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

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Sean Murray

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