82 on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick

Highest number ever recorded - INMO
  • Deborah Condon

Eighty-two patients were waiting on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick on Wednesday morning - the highest one-day figure ever recorded in an Irish hospital, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.

According to the INMO's ‘Trolley Watch' service, on the morning of October 2, there were 47 patients without beds in the hospital's Emergency Department (ED) and 35 without beds in wards elsewhere in the hospital.

Patients without beds are usually left waiting on trolleys or chairs, often in corridors.

INMO figures also show that during the month of September, University Hospital Limerick was the most overcrowded hospital in the country, with a total of 1,405 patients left waiting on trolleys.

The organisation has called for an immediate intervention by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris. It said that a number of actions need to be taken, including:
-The cancellation of non-essential elective work
-An immediate end to the recruitment bad for nurses and midwives
-The provision of emergency funding for extra agency staff
-More home care packages to move patients out of the hospital.

According to INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, the situation "is escalating beyond crisis point and cannot be allowed to continue".

"We are calling on the Minister to intervene directly. Promises of future improvement will not suffice. Real action is needed today.

"We have been saying this on repeat for more than a decade. Ireland does not have sufficient hospital capacity. Without an increase in beds and the professionals to staff them, this problem will continue to escalate," Ms Ní Sheaghdha insisted.

She added that while frontline workers are providing the best care that they can, this situation is "intolerable for them and unsafe for patients".


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