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Hundreds on trolleys again, as hospitals deal with influx of flu cases

INMO figures show there were 518 people waiting on trolleys in emergency departments and on wards yesterday.

Nurses and former patients protest outside Leinster House last month.
Nurses and former patients protest outside Leinster House last month.
Image: Photocall Ireland

OVERCROWDING REMAINS A problem at Irish hospitals, nursing union the INMO has said.

Despite a “determined, concerted effort” by all sides to address the issue “overcrowding continues unabated,” according to the General Secretary of the INMO, Liam Doran.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Doran said that patient care was still being compromised by overwork, and that efforts to address delayed discharges had clearly not been sufficient.

A number of hospitals are dealing with an upsurge in flu cases. Doran said he recognised that was a contributing factor to the problem.

Some people who had admissions cancelled as part of efforts to address overcrowding at the start of January are now showing up at emergency departments requesting to be seen, Doran said.

INMO ‘Trolley Watch’ figures for yesterday showed there were 518 people on trolleys in emergency departments and on wards.

On the worst day of the recent crisis, in early January, that figure exceeded 600.

“It’s the winter. February and March it’s traditionally very, very high levels of overcrowding. We’ve been doing the trolley count since ’04 — February and March are always bad times,” Doran said.

Industrial action planned for a number of hospitals in the Midlands and West was called off by the INMO earlier this week, after talks with management.

It was agreed that over 100 additional nurses would be hired to help address the problem at the University Hospitals Group and in Naas.

However, some 220 nurses at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar are to ballot for industrial action next week.

They staged a lunchtime protest at the facility last month calling for more staff, more beds and an improvement in working conditions.

Read: Contentious flu drug DOES work, latest trials show>

Read: Four people dead from the flu this season>

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