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Cork City

Overcrowding in Cork city hospitals described as 'out of control' and 'dangerous'

Overcrowding records were broken today in both Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Apr 2023

OVERCROWDING IN BOTH Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital has been described as “out of control” by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The INMO has called for a “bespoke plan to tackle overcrowding in Cork City” due to the number of patient who have been admitted to these hospitals without a bed.

It comes at the INMO’s Trolley Watch figures show that overcrowding records were broken across both hospital today, with 92 people on trollies in Cork University Hospital and 40 in Mercy University Hospital.

Cork University Hospital has the largest number of patients on trollies today, followed by University Hospital Limerick where 86 people are without a bed, according to today’s Trolley Watch figures.

The INMO’s assistant director of industrial relations for the Southern Region, Colm Porter said “overcrowding in both major hospitals in Cork has become out of hand”.

He noted that overcrowding records were broken in both hospitals today and said it “warrants a national response from the Health Service Executive”.

Porter also warned that the “situation in Cork University Hospital is continuing to deteriorate week on week” and that “INMO members are under significant pressure across all wards”.

He added that the bed deficit in Cork University Hospital is “impacting the ability of our members to carry out the safe care they have been trained to provide to patients”.

Porter also called for “immediate engagement to ensure that discharge facilities are available in the community and that all capacity that can be used from the private sector is being deployed”.

Meanwhile, the INMO’s industrial relations officer Liam Conway described conditions in Mercy University Hospital in recent weeks as “intolerable for nurses”.

“There are real concerns for nurse safety when it comes to fire safety and infection control due to the levels of overcrowding,” he added.

Conway also said that INMO members are described the inside of Mercy University Hospital as “dangerous”, adding that “patients are being cared for near exit doors and in areas blocking fire safety equipment”.

“As well as a national response from the HSE,” said Conway, “the hospital and the South/Southwest Hospital Group is required today on de-escalation protocols and the cancellation of all non-urgent elective care.”

In a statement to The Journal, a spokesperson for the South/Southwest Hospital Group (SSWHG) apologises to “all patients who continue to be affected by long waiting periods”.

The spokesperson added: “There are long-standing challenges with acute inpatient bed capacity which unfortunately has resulted in large number of patients having to endure lengthy waiting times in the Emergency Departments at Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital.

“The SSWHG is working with the HSE at a regional and national level to address these issues.”

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