This month is worst October on record for hospital overcrowding

This month was the worst October on record for hospital overcrowding, with 9,055 patients in need of a bed forced to endure delays on trolleys and chairs.

This is more than twice as bad as when the nurses’ union, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), began its daily trolley watch in 2006.

The monthly analysis of trolley figures from the INMO shows University Hospital Limerick had over 1,045 patients on trolleys – the highest in the country.

This is the equivalent of Limerick’s total bed capacity twice over, the union warned today.

Five hospitals topped the table with 500 patients on trolleys over the month:

University Hospital Galway: 716

Cork University Hospital: 647

Letterkenny University Hospital: 572

Mater University Hospital: 519

University Hospital Waterford: 512

It also expressed concern at overcrowding in smaller hospitals.

South Tipperary General Hospital, for example, had 474 patients waiting on trolleys over the month – nearly three times the hospital’s total bed capacity.

The union claimed that much of the overcrowding is down to understaffing, caused “primarily by unattractively low pay levels in Irish nursing and midwifery.”

It said that as of September 2018, Ireland’s health service has 227 fewer staff nurses than December 2017

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “Over 9,000 patients forced to wait on trolleys and it’s not even peak winter season.

“Figures like these do not adequately express the hardship endured by patients who find themselves in these circumstances.

“The negative health impacts of this overcrowding are known, yet this is not addressed as a national priority.”

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