There were over 600 patients left waiting on trolleys in hospitals nationwide every day last week, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.
According to its ‘Trolley/Ward Watch' figures, 3,112 patients were left waiting on trolleys between March 5-9.
Furthermore, the number of patients on trolleys in any given day has exceeded 600 on 14 separate days so far this year. This was only achieved three times during the whole of 2017.
The INMO has renewed its call for a two-week period in March to be declared, and treated as, an emergency period in the public health service. It had called for this after Storm Emma to allow the service to recover from the backlogs created by the adverse weather conditions.
"We saw record trolley figures last week, as predicted by the INMO, due to pressures on hospitals following Storm Emma. The INMO requested an emergency two-week period, which the HSE were not willing to implement.
"This massive surge in attendance at Emergency Departments was predictable and known to the HSE. Any reasonable and responsible employer and service provider would have sought by any means available to them to minimise these risks to patient and staff safety," commented INMO general secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha.
She said that is it ‘not possible' for hospital staff to to provide safe care under these conditions.
"The INMO is calling for emergency status to be immediately declared and emergency response plans put into operation," Ms Ni Sheaghdha added.