INMO say hospital overcrowding remains at "record high"

More than 7,500 admitted patients were on trolleys in August

Hospital trolley, ward, INMO, trolley watch, University Hospital Limerick

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New figures show the number of people waiting on a trolley or ward for a hospital bed is at record levels.

The statistics from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) say there were 7,781 admitted patients on trolleys in August, up 27% on 2016.

The INMO says 65,455 people were admitted for care in the first eight months of the year but had no bed.

It says this represents a 7% increase on 2016, but a 90% increase on 10 years ago 2007.

These latest figures come ahead of a meeting of the national Emergency Department Implementation Group to discuss the autumn/winter period.

The hospitals which experienced the highest levels of overcrowding in August were:

  • University Hospital Limerick: 835 (32 in 2007)
  • University Hospital, Galway: 643 (123 in 2007)
  • South Tipperary General Hospital: 489 (82 in 2007)
  • University Hospital Waterford: 486 (0 in 2007)
  • Cork University Hospital: 457 (189 in 2007)
  • Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore: 452 (2 in 2007)
  • Mater Hospital Dublin: 436 (315 in 2007)

The INMO says it will be seeking implementation of all emergency measures identified in the taskforce report, including senior clinical decision makers rostered on an extended day basis over the seven days, nurse managers provided with full autonomy to recruit additional staff and for senior general managers to be present in the hospitals on a 24/7 basis.

INMO General-Secretary Liam Doran said: "There is no doubt that the level of attention required to manage trolley overcrowding has dropped in recent months.

"The abnormal, and very harmful and detrimental, effects, of overcrowding, are no longer viewed as requiring urgent action as the HSE focuses on measuring and counting the problem rather than addressing it.

"It is clear that setting of targets, whether they be for patients over 75, patients waiting to be seen or patients waiting for a decision to admit/discharge has not had any positive effect upon the management of the overcrowding crisis.

"The monitoring and reporting of the targets has now become the priority for management rather than the actions necessary to protect patients and frontline staff."