Wednesday, August 31, 2022

More than 9,603 patients were without a bed in the month of August, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

The figure is a new August record for overcrowding in Irish hospitals.

University Hospital Galway was the most overcrowded hospital in August, with 1,166 patients waiting on trolleys.

This was followed by University Hospital Limerick which had 1,130 patients waiting for a bed. This is the first time since September 2021 that Limerick has not been the most overcrowded hospital.

Cork University Hospital followed as the third most overcrowded hospital with 919 patients waiting for a bed.

St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin and Sligo University Hospital also featured in the top five most overcrowded, respectively.

Winter Plan

Phil Ní Sheaghdha, INMO General Secretary said: “For the third time this year, we have seen another monthly overcrowding record broken with 9,603 patients on trolleys throughout the month of August.

“The consistently high levels of overcrowding we have seen this summer are sounding the alarm for a very bleak winter ahead unless immediate action is taken by the Minister for Health and the HSE in the form of a fully funded, winter plan.

“This plan should be published prior to the Emergency Taskforce reconvening on September. It is not good enough to publish a plan for winter when healthcare workers and patients are in the throes of a winter crisis.

“For the first time since September 2021, University Hospital Limerick is not the worst overcrowded hospital. This is due in part to the work of the expert team led by Dr Mike O’Connor by listening to what nursing ward managers staff nurses and nursing managers have been constantly saying; and now this team are actioning into improving the operational processes in UHL which has seen significant results.

“This has been achieved by ramping up the discharge and internal/external patient flow processes through robust implementation by the Review Team.

“What has been implemented in University Hospital Limerick in the last six weeks must be replicated in other hospitals with chronic overcrowding problems. It should not take this union and its members consistently shining a spotlight on problems with overcrowding for action to be taken.

“As we head into a winter of unknowns in our health service, the Minister for Health and senior HSE management must make it their business to take every step that they can to protect nurses, midwives and patients. We know that over 1,171 healthcare workers have contracted COVID in the past four weeks.

“It is vital now that the booster and flu vaccines are provided to healthcare workers. The health and safety of our healthcare workforce and patients depends on it.”

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