Over 100,000 patients have been left waiting on trolleys or chairs in Irish hospitals so far this year, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.
According to its ‘Trolley Watch' figures, as of November 11, a total of 100,457 patients have gone without beds in hospitals this year.
This marks only the second time that the annual figure has surpassed 100,000. The first time was in 2018, however that year, the figure was not reached until November 28.
The worst hit hospitals this year have been University Hospital Limerick (11,901), Cork University Hospital (9,496), University Hospital Galway (6,870) and South Tipperary General Hospital (6,040).
Almost 1,000 children under the age of 16 have also been left without beds so far this year.
According to INMO general secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, the Irish health service "continues to break records in the worst possible way".
"This simply doesn't happen in other countries. Behind each number is a vulnerable patient trapped in undignified and unsafe conditions, often on a corridor. Our members are working incredibly hard, but our health service clearly does not have sufficient capacity to cope," she insisted.
Ms Ni Sheaghdha called for an end to the HSE's recruitment freeze.
"It's simply a question of capacity and staffing. We need an infusion of qualified, frontline staff to stabilise the health service. Without it, this problem will rapidly accelerate as we move into winter," she added.
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