Record levels of hospital overcrowding in first half of 2017

The INMO is calling for emergency measures to address the "totally unacceptable" situation

Record levels of hospital overcrowding in first half of 2017

Empty hospital beds in a corridor | Image: RollingNews.ie

There have been record levels of overcrowding in our hospitals in the first six months of the year, according to the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO).

51,321 patients were left on trolleys or admitted to overcrowded wards between January and June - a 6% increased compared to the first six months of 2016.

While the number of patients on trolleys in Dublin decreased compared to last year, there was a "significant increase" in hospitals outside the capital.

The figures released by the INMO today also show that University Hospital Limerick was the worst affected by overcrowding last month, with 640 people waiting on a bed.

University Hospital Galway (566 patients), the Mater in Dublin (532 patients), Cork University Hospital (469 patients) and University Hospital Waterford (406 patients) also had high numbers of patients on trolleys or waiting for a bed in June.

The June total of 7,124 patients represents a 21% increase on the same month last year.

The union's general secretary Liam Doran said the health service "simply cannot cope" with demand for beds.

Mr Doran argued: "These figures confirm that hospitals cannot deal with both planned and emergency admissions at the same time - confirming that our health service remains far too small.

"The government and the HSE, in responding to these latest figures, must bring forward emergency measures, including resources, to immediately address this totally unacceptable situation.”